[Blog 21] Thinking Out Loud: I Pay $$$, I Am King

A quote by Margaret Thatcher goes, “Being powerful is like being a lady: if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” This notion can be easily applied in the landscape of a workplace where power often comes naturally with a position of leadership, although there are instances where it tends to sit more comfortably with some than others. While some leaders use their power to spread positive influence, others—perhaps overwhelmed with greed—have a habit of irresponsibly exercising their authority as leverage, simply to advance their own selfish goals. These individuals assume that since no one is paying close attention to them, they’re able to abuse their hierarchy, but they succumb to such actions only to end up losing the respect of their employees.

As a leader, how you portray yourself sets the tone for the rest of the employees so they know what is expected of them; what is deemed acceptable and what isn’t. Your role is to establish the standards and act by them so your employees can emulate the examples that you have set. From your attire and punctuality to your language, there must be a certain level of awareness with regards to the decisions that you make every step of the way. For instance, do not show up at your workplace in a polo tee and jeans when the dress code has already been established as business professional from the very beginning. And if you’ve set the official reporting time for 8AM, do not treat it as a loose guideline and waltz in an hour later than you’re supposed to. Setting a primary example may even expand into less obvious behaviours on a personal level, such as making an immense purchase when the company’s financial situation is on the rocks. Under the circumstance that your employees might be experiencing major pay cuts, buying a luxury car or going for a month-long vacation—even from your own personal means—doesn’t necessarily put you in a good light. Instead, it paves way for your subordinates to assume the worse and perpetuate settings for more distrust and disassociation, when you should be building a relationship based on mutual understanding and respect.

Being a boss, perhaps you are too occupied with stressors of your own that you may not even realise that you could be taking advantage of your power. Some behaviour that may seem harmless to you can be perceived as repulsive to others and cause your relationship to be jeopardised. It’s true that you cannot please everyone but that does not mean you shouldn’t try to reevaluate your management styles. As a leader, you not only have to project concrete morals and expectations of your yourself, but of the organisation as one entity. Needless to say, your actions have to constantly be in line with your company’s core mission and values—only then will your employees feel empowered and motivated to put their best foot forward for the company. Employees need a figure in the company that they can look up to as a role model so in order to be an effective manager, it’s a matter of ‘walking the talk’ and showing the way with your own actions.