London-based business consultant Josh Cote believes that – in order to successfully lead others – you must first learn to lead yourself, as this destroys any lingering suggestions of hypocrisy in a given leadership style.
While great mentors are critical, there are certain boundaries to be adhered to. The statement from Cote follows on from a series of recent speaking and consulting engagements where this concern for companies appeared more prevalent than usual.
Late author Stephen Covey once said, “What you do has a far greater impact than what you say,” suggesting that effective leaders in business will be the ones that can lead by example, show what needs to be done. Indeed, when a leader tells people what to do the leader may be perceived as hypocritical, leading to an increased likelihood of staff turnover and loss of talent.
Hypocritical leaders struggle to give credit to others, promote other peoples’ situations, acknowledge alternative points of view, and end up micro managing as a result. These common examples may appear quite brazen, but in a business environment they can just as easily bubble away under the surface.
Although hypocrisy is not always intentional, Cote’s idea of ‘leading yourself’ is concerned with developing a rigorous self-discipline, and identifying one’s own blind spots and flaws to prevent these sorts of accusations occurring in the workplace.
“Successful people do daily what unsuccessful people do occasionally. This means that you need to have a disciplined routine of doing things that are going to make you better everyday – both personally and professionally – with an acute sense of self-awareness,” suggests Josh Cote.
The American-born consultant likens self awareness in this context to playing chess, as the goal is to see someone else’s perspective to make yourself a better player – or person. If a leader is able to develop his or her ability to keep working at something that is difficult – even when no one is watching – then they stand a great chance of becoming successful.
Mr. Cote has spent almost 18 years advising businesses, and he strongly believes that the ultimate aim of removing hypocrisy from a given leadership style will contribute greatly to the potential success of a business or idea.