Take a moment to identify a handful of leadership traits. List them in your mind or on a piece of paper, whichever works best for you. There’s no right or wrong answer, simply list the traits that mean the most to you.
Consider the list of items identified and think of that as your baseline. In our leadership training courses, we emphasize that as a leader, you don’t want to simply meet those baseline leadership traits. Instead, you want to exceed them in every way possible. The expectations that you set for both yourself and your team should constantly be striving for better.
If you haven’t read the book, Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, we highly recommend you do. The reason why we like this book so much is because it emphasizes that as leaders, we should not only exemplify the leadership traits that are important to us, but we should also own them. We should own them and improve on them as often as possible. The work of improving as a leader is never complete.
Failure happens. Unexpected challenges arise all the time. As leaders, it’s up to us to maintain vital leadership traits and not only own them, but also do our best to anticipate failure and ways to address the unexpected. We should not only expect this from ourselves and know when to intervene as a leader, but we should also expect this from our team.
Although the most effective leaders do their best to anticipate and clear the path for their team, there is one sentiment that if present, will silently kill the morale of both yourself and your team. That sentiment is resentment.
Resentment in yourself
It’s easy to be unhappy with any given situation. To feel unhappy or be upset with what’s going on personally is inherent in your emotions as a leader. However, it’s difficult to not only identify what’s making you upset but to avoid letting it get to you. If you, as a leader, let resentment build, you’re in trouble.
Resentment within your team
Same goes with your team. Gossip, drama, negative behavior or actions towards one another, blame, and the list goes on and on. If these types of actions take place within your team and resentment begins to build, your team is in trouble.
How to avoid resentment at all costs
As a leader, you should personally be doing self-evaluations all the time. If not daily, weekly at the very least. Are you upset often? Are you losing your temper? Are you judging others based on emotion only? Are your stress levels high and are you having difficulty sleeping? How are you executing on your actions? Are you reacting to everything or are you thinking ahead and planning ahead?
Ask these same types of questions when thinking about your team. Touch base with your team members weekly. Are you talking about challenges and are you supporting their efforts in overcoming those challenges? Are you, as a leader, following through on the commitments you make to your team? Are you consistent?
If you can only anticipate one thing as a leader, it should be resentment. When resentment strikes either yourself or your team, it’s game over. In most cases, this means you’ve reached the point of no return, making it difficult to recover. Resentment is a silent killer and you should be doing anything you can to avoid it.
What about you? Tell us about a time when resentment killed either yourself or your team. Were you able to recover and if so, how?