The ongoing workplace difficulties at Uber -- accusations of discrimination against women, rebellion among its employees and drivers against what they feel is a complete lack of appreciation for them -- seem to surprise no one who worked there. Every story I read indicates that these issues (and others) had been issues for a long time at the company. Uber’s workforce had long been frustrated with their leaders and their inability or refusal to have their backs and listen to their concerns. But, when business is good and managing growth is the only objective, who cares if the culture is failing? Things are good now! What’s the point of making bigger, long-term decisions to keep employees motivated and their teams inspired? Those that complain can leave -- and easily be replaced.
This is exactly why Uber is looking for new leaders from the top down: It knows so many of its so-called leaders were not ready for leadership responsibilities and increased levels of accountability required in today’s workplaces. It focused only on managing growth in the marketplace, not making good, thoughtful and smart decisions about the the people who worked there -- as if the two were not connected at all.
What is clear is even in hard-driving cultures like the one Uber created, people still want leaders that can help them grow professionally and that have the influence to advance their careers over time. These leaders know how to organically manage from within the corporate culture, maximize resources, motivate, inspire and -- most importantly -- make good, sound decisions, not bad ones that create chaos.
Are your leaders making the right and good decisions and thus ready for their leadership roles? Are you? Those that are adhere to the following six behavioral patterns:
1. Knowing experience matters only so much
The only thing certain about business today is uncertainty. Marketplaces shift and competitors emerge globally in much less time than ever before. As a result, what succeeded 25 years ago -- or even five years ago -- matters only so much. A track record of prior success doesn’t mean that it will apply within any organization, even the industry you work in. What matters most is mindset: Leaders who are adept at being inclusive in their leadership in the workplace make good decisions by constantly seeing and seizing new opportunities.
2. Refusing to play politics
Leaders that play politics lose their leadership identities, because they are always trying to serve other people’s agendas and motives that don’t align with their beliefs. That leads to bad and inauthentic decision-making. It is possible to serve your company’s and boss’s goals and objectives and not get addicted to corporate politics. Is this always possible? No. But, at the very least, leaders who are transparent about playing politics when necessary maintain trust from the employees who depend upon them.
3. Having clarity of purpose
What do you stand for? Do you even know what your core values are? Do they align with what your leaders and company expect from you? Then how can you know you are making the right decisions? Clarity of purpose allows you to make decisions that are true and consistent with the mission at hand and align it you’re your own. Lacking this clarity erodes your ability to make decisions authentically.
4. Knowing how to manage resources
Do you know the resources you have at your disposal -- both the human and intellectual capital and the tools and resources that are available and/or need to be acquired to compete? I’m constantly surprised at how few leaders actually know how deep their talent is and what they need to succeed and thus make bad and uniformed decisions leading to a mismanagement of those resources. People are your playbook for success for not just managing growth but reclaiming it.
5. Being able to see and seize opportunities
Seeing and seizing opportunities are the keys to reclaiming growth and require what I call circular vision or wide-angle thinking that makes leaders proficient at anticipating crisis and managing change before circumstances force their hand. It broadens their observation and allows them to see around, beneath and beyond the obvious detail before them.
6. Trusting themselves
Do you trust yourself enough as a leader to adapt to the cultural demographic shift taking place in America’s workplaces and marketplaces? Do you have the courage and wisdom to embrace diversity of thought? The best leaders do and thus have the trust not only of their people but also trust themselves as they lead through uncertainty, even if they can’t know whether their decisions will lead to success.
Many great leaders begin to lose self-trust as they fail or face uncertainty and thus fail to do the other five things that lead to bad decisions. Don’t fall into this trap!