Does Leadership Really Make a Difference?

Recently I was in Indianapolis speaking at a business conference. I stayed at the Marriott in the downtown area. I never stayed in a more friendly hotel. Everyone who worked there was extremely courteous and helpful, and I immediately felt at home. I asked myself why did this hotel feel so much more welcoming than others? Why was the customer service at this hotel far superior to any other I stayed at? I suspected I knew what the answer was but I was determined to ask the next hotel employee I saw.

I came across two young employees who were extremely helpful in escorting customers to areas throughout the hotel complex. Their attitude and work ethic stood out. I asked them if their performance was a result of their own midwestern values or if the leadership at the hotel played a role in how they served customers. They answered that the leadership at the hotel absolutely made the difference.

I have found time and time again that leadership does matter in how well an organization performs. An organization, whether it be a corporation, a non-profit, or a military unit will take on the personality of its leader.

If a leader is sloppy, the organization will be sloppy. If the leader takes customers for granted, the employees will too. A good leader could take over a poor organization and that organization will improve. A poor leader can take charge of a good organization and that organization will begin to fail.

Leaders must understand that the people they lead are always watching. They are observing to see if the leader demonstrates the organizational values of the organization they lead. Followers watch to see how the leader engages with customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Followers observe to see if the leader adheres to the standards they expect their others to adhere to.

A leader’s behavior will either grow trust or break trust. A leader will establish a culture of belonging or a culture of isolation based on their actions, not their words. Leaders must move toward organizational conflict to neutralize it rather than turning a blind eye to conflict or challenges which will cause them to grow and fester.

So, if you are wondering if leadership makes a difference, the answer is that it does. Just ask a few followers.

About John Gronski

Major General John L. Gronski (U.S. Army Retired) is the founder and CEO of Leader Grove LLC, a leadership consulting firm. John is the author of two books, “Iron-Sharpened Leadership” and “The Ride of Our Lives” and he is an international and Fortune 500 speaker. Learn more about John Gronski at https://johngronski.com/

Continue To Learn

John created a great online leadership development program. You can take online leadership development courses including Cultivating Trust, Introduction to Emotional Intelligence, and Conflict Management. Introduction to Change Leadership will be available soon and more courses will follow. Once you complete a course, take a short quiz, attain an 80% score, and download a certificate of completion. Find out more and enroll at Store.LeaderGrove.com

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