In Times of Change it is Easy to Spot a Leader

In government the organizational landscapes we work in change all the time. The more impactful these changes are to the organization, the easier it is to recognize true leaders. These leaders can be anyone in the organization as being a leader is not dependent upon position or formal authority.

Keep your eyes open for the following behaviors. When spotted, learn from it and then take a moment to thank these people for providing leadership in turbulent times.

Leaders Drive out Fear

Change is scary, especially significant change. It is common knowledge that the more impactful the change, the more you will see a loss in productivity, quality and a rise in people leaving the organization. There is a certain amount of fear involved in these responses. A leader will work to calm the waters. They strive to drive out fear in people and in the organization.

Leaders Understand that Failure is How We Learn

When people are trying something new or even working on an old process, they will at times fail. A true leader understands that we really only learn from failure. A leader will support others during times of failure and encourage them to dust off and try again. As Thomas Edison said, ‘fail fast, fail often’ as he failed 9,000 times when trying to create the light bulb.

Leaders Know that Knowledge is Power

Take note of those who consistently try to improve upon their leadership behaviors. Do they have a book on leadership on their desk? Are they taking a leadership course? Leadership is something that requires continuous improvement or learning. Taking the time and making it a priority is a sign of a leader.

Leaders Have Their Eye on the Future State

Great leaders don’t have their heads down. They strive to understand where the organization is heading. They talk to people who think differently than they do. The learn from everyone, piece together the puzzle that eventually paints the picture of where the organization is headed. These leaders are doing this to anticipate change so that they can prepare themselves and others for the future.

Leaders Think, “Change? Bring it On!”

Leaders are easy to spot as they tend to have a very high capacity for change. They want to learn about all the changes happening. Then they work to alleviate resistance of these changes in others. They mentor and coach those that are feeling uncertain or unsure of the changes that are impacting them. Remember, organizations don’t change, people do!

Leaders Create a Diverse Network

Great leaders understand that having a diverse network is a source of solutions. They engage people who think differently and know different things than they do. Surrounding yourself with people smarter than yourself is sage advice. How else could we solve the multiple issues or problems that arise? Plus, this approach helps leaders continuously up their game too.

Leaders Dare to Be Different

Leaders just don’t talk about taking risks, they do it. These courageous people often think differently and therefore are willing to take risks associating with solving problems. They challenge the status quo as they work to improve whatever situation or issue that is in front of them. Thinking outside of the box is commonplace for them.

A Leader’s Words and Actions Matter

Genuine leaders use caring words and back them up with their actions. They say things like, “Please”, “Thank You”, and “Good Work!” to everyone in the organization, not just to the Executives. You will notice that they smile often and bring joy to the workplace. When talking about accomplishments, they consistently use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. Not only do their words make a positive impact, they take action too. They do what they said they would. They stand up for you and others when it REALLY matters. When thinking of people you trust in the organization, they come to mind easily. They are very often thought of as someone that can be trusted.

Pay it Forward…

Think about all the things you learn from these people in your organization. Practicing and emulating these leadership behaviors improves upon your own leadership skills. This is invaluable. These leaders add so much to our own personal tool kits. They deserve to be recognized for their leadership behaviors. Take a minute to say “Thank you” for everything they do for you and for the organization. Stop them in the hall, shoot them a text, give them a call or write an old-fashioned thank you card. However you do it, make sure they know they and their actions are appreciated.

If you want to learn more about leadership behaviors, try this great post called Uncovering Your Inner Coach Through Situational Leadership by Stacie M. Rivera. Her take on Situational Leadership is interesting as well as educational. Plus, it is perfect timing to read it – Go Saints!  Thank you Stacie!

Michelle Malloy is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She has been a devoted Colorado state employee for nearly 13 years. In that time, she had dedicated herself to being the best steward leader possible, ensuring that everyone and everything left in her care are nurtured and developed in order to provide the best value and service to the citizens of the state of Colorado today and into the future. Michelle’s expertise lies in strategy, program management, project management, change management, process improvement, facilitation and working with people. Michelle believes that people are the government’s #1 asset and the products and services we aim to provide and improve upon would not happen without them. You can read her posts here.

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Michelle Malloy

Thank you, Kaitlin! I have learned so much from others as they exhibit leadership behaviors. I think it should be celebrated and respected.