Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

3 Clues a Leader Has Your Back


By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com


“I’ve got your back!” These words comprise one of the most revered comments on the planet. Whether you hear those beautiful words in your personal or professional life, they typically give you a sense of comfort and confidence. Sometimes leaders utter “I’ve got your back” to their team. That can be a wonderful moment, however, one of the foundations of good leadership is walking the walk. In other words, good leaders lead by example. Leaders have the opportunity to not only tell team members that they have their back, but also to show them that they have their back. There are many ways leaders can demonstrate this, today we examine three of them. 


  1. Communicate. If there is an issue swirling in your area of responsibility, go to the source in order to uncover what is truly going on. Encourage your team members to exhibit the same behavior. In the process, you avoid gossip and second-hand interpretations. This minimizes your organization’s grapevine and the petty distractions associated with gossiping.


  1. Give a Heads Up. As soon as you have information or are aware of an event that is going to hit one of your team members like a ton of bricks, let them know. If the event calls for delivering a tough message, prepare appropriately for engaging in a difficult conversation. Most organizations hate surprises (unless they are very pleasant). Likewise, the people on your team would much rather know that a freight train is heading their way, as opposed to hearing a loud horn just prior to impact.  


  1. Think Team First, Promotion Later. A clear signal that a leader does not have the backs of their team members is when the leader is more focused on their next promotion rather than promoting the people on their team. Want to incite a mutiny? Be self-centered. You’ll get a mutiny in no time. Want to have the undying loyalty of your people? Help them to grow and develop their skills. Help them position their careers so that they can advance. In other words, leaders who embrace a mantra of “I’ve got your back” help their team members to be successful. In the process, the overall organization thrives. In the end, a thriving organization is better positioned to promote a talented, selfless leader.  


Bottom Line: Let your behavior demonstrate an “I’ve got your back” attitude. When issues arise, go to the source for first-hand information and avoid second-hand drama. When times are tough, get gutsy and give people a heads up, even if it means sharing a difficult message. Think first about positioning your team members for success, and lastly about a promotion for you. An amazing thing happens when you cover the backs of your people – they cover your back as well!


Until next time, be well.



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Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com. 

© 2013 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2013-09-25 at 09:53 AM
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