You’ve heard of trickle-down economics. Well now there’s trickle-down leadernomics, a concept I literally just made up for this blog :). While a little tongue-in-cheek, trickle-down leadernomics aptly illustrates my point. Whatever kind of leadership is demonstrated at the top – good or bad – is guaranteed to be mimicked as role models throughout the rest of the organization.
Think about it. If there’s poor communication at the top, I would bet my life that there’s also poor communication everywhere else. Folks, it’s this simple . . . when leadership at the top is good, there is an air of trust, support, collaboration and convergence all resulting in high performance and conduct. Conversely, when leadership at the top is bad then there is an air of mistrust, lack of support, lack of collaboration and inconsistent performance throughout the organization.
Trickle-Down Leadernomics Applies to Everyone
While trickle-down leadernomics ostensibly refers to role-setting at the top, it’s actually much more pervasive than that. Leadership styles quickly become part of the culture which means this concept applies to EVERYONE, at all levels within the organization. Quite frankly, we ALL must be MUCH more cognizant of the subliminal messages we’re sending. These messages include the way we communicate; the way we conduct ourselves; the way we treat other people, especially our reports; and the way we show what we care about. The goal is to shape everyone’s behavior towards positive trickle-down leadernomics for a healthier, more successful and convergent organization.
4 Steps for Positive Trickle-Down Leadernomics
- Ensure leadership at the top is unified, on the same page and speaking with ONE Voice. Want to see silo’s throughout an organization? Just communicate with two different messages from the top. In worst cases, it’s like a scene from West Side Story, where you have the “Jets” vs the “Sharks.” Everyone’s department is protecting their turf and only conforming if their leader also conforms. Great drama for movies, horrible dysfunction for real-life business success.
- Provide frequent, candid and honest communication to your people. Leaving your people out of the loop, especially if it’s information that could impact them personally, is like leaving your new-born child with a stranger. Don’t do it! People left out of the “know” will assume the worst. Before you know it, unfavorable rumors spread throughout the organization creating a toxic and unstable environment. I’m sure your intentions were good but be painfully aware of the balance between ‘don’t need to know’ and ‘need to know’ for your people.
- Ask your people what they would like to see demonstrated from leadership. I know this sounds scary but what’s more scary? Hearing what your people have to say, or hearing what no one has to say because everyone has “jumped ship.” People sincerely want to be led…by great leaders. And, quite candidly, the greatest leaders are ones who not only know how to represent the business but also know how to represent their Do you do a good job of representing both?
- Model “positive” leadership. Want a healthy organization that knows how to drive performance, collaboration and convergence? Model it yourself in the way you would like to be lead. This is not rocket science. Kids mimic elders and what they see. So do employees, especially around the areas of leadership. Think about what matters to you in a leader and then be that role model of leadership for your organization.
My Positive Trickle-Down Leadernomics Challenge to You
Your leadership challenge: Realize that people are ‘mimicking’ you more than you know. While the term “trickle-down leadernomics” is my made-up term, the phenomenon is quite real. Model the type of leadership you want the rest of the organization to live out, regardless of your level in the organization. Others will notice, trust meJ.
I’m Here to Help You Own It
Privately send me your challenges, questions and comments or use the forum below. I can’t guarantee I’ll have all the answers, but I will be candid, truthful and genuine. All of us can inspire, lead and achieve and drive higher performance and organizational health if we simply work at it.