If you’re like me, you’ve raised kids and you might even have grandkids. I love my kids and my grandkids. They are each so unique. It’s funny to think about my kids, all four of them grew up in the same house, with the same rules, went to the same school, ate the same foods. Well, you get the picture. Yet, with all the similarities in life, they are each so different. I often say they are North, South, East, and West. Anyway, my wife and I were always involved our kids lives and we knew each of them pretty well. We knew their ways, behaviors, and mannerisms. But every once in a while we would see a behavior in them that was completely out of character. And we would look at each other and say, “where in the world did that come from?”
In those moments we would be confused and wondering where it came from. Early in our parenting we naturally assumed it was from an outside influence. It must be from kids at school or something they saw on tv. Until, one day we were listening to some teaching that changed the way we approached these situations. In a nutshell, the lesson was that the behavior of our children is often, not necessarily every time, but often, their behavior is a reflection of us as the parents. We learned our children’s behavior was directly influenced by my relationship with my wife. I thought, ‘how in the world does that effect or influence how my kids behave or wether or not they mind?’ So for the next few months my wife and I started talking about this and paying closer attention to how our kids behaved in relationship to how we were getting along, or not getting along. In that time, we discovered it to be very true. We came to realize that our kids behaviors were directly effected by our relationship. When we were on the same page and being supportive of one another, the whole house was more calm and our kids got along better. In contrast, when we were not on the same page and not supportive of each other and there was tension between us, our kids would fuss more with eachother and would be less obedient and more rebellious. Our lesson in all this was that any time we saw the behavior of our kids change, before we looked anywhere else, we first looked in the mirror. And as the head of the household, ultimately it starts with me. I have to take the lead, and we as a team had to come together. We double checked us and our behavior and our relationship to see what we might need to work on or fix. This was so eye opening it changed how we approached parenting and how we approached our relationship. Over time it drastically improved our lives and the atmosphere in our home.
Now, in my years of coaching and teaching leaders in ministries, businesses and factories, I have found the same to be true as it relates to leading. Ultimately, the top leader has to take the lead and the leadership team has to come together. Let me make the connection. Every team, group, or organization has an atmosphere, an attitude, a norm. Sure, each person is an individual and brings his/her own personality, but the team has its own personality as a whole also. And that personality is influenced by many things; workload, workplace conditions, pay scale, training, positive and/or negative feedback, etc. But, nothing has more influence on the personality of the organization as its leaders. And while ultimate responsibility falls on the top leader, it is the responsibility of the entire leadership team to reflect the behavior, attitude, and personality that is expected from the whole organization. Something that I’ve seen ring true time and time again, is how much the behavior, attitude, and personality of a group or organization is a direct reflection of its leadership team.
So, when you see changes in your group or organization that seem out of character, or you just don’t see what you would hope to, do a self check. Before you start brainstorming and analyzing to determine what “outside” influences are effecting your people, do an internal exam of yourselves as a leadership team. What has changed? Are you getting along the way you should? Are you supporting each other? Are you giving your all? Have you allowed yourself to take offense to something? Are you feeling overwhelmed? There are many questions we can ask ourselves, but ultimately, We have to ask, Are we a reflection of what we want to see? Then we have to be brutally honest with ourselves and eachother. We must acknowledge what needs to be fixed or improved, and then get to work on it. Only then will you begin to see the behavior, attitude, and personality of your group or organization improve. Certainly there will be outside influences that will effect your organization. But their response to those things are greatly influenced by how the leadership team responds.
As quoted in one of my favorite movies, Remember the Titans, “Attitude reflects Leadership”. So let’s be a reflection of what we want to see.