Leaders, are you the villain?

What makes a good villain? 

Is it the perfect sneer? Perhaps a penchant for monologuing? Or is it something more subtle?

Let’s consult our friends at Oxford:

As you can see, there are many ways to convey the concept of ‘villain,’; and none of them speak particularly well of the individual being accused of such wretchedness. Also, as a complete side note, I encourage the more frequent use of many of these words for the simple fact that they are excellent for adding variety to our lives. I would be quite a ruffian to suggest otherwise!

Before I get too far off topic, let’s get back to the question at hand: do your employees see you as a villain? Here are a couple items to be conscious of if you don’t want to be seen as a scoundrel.

Going Back On Promises

Classic villain behavior typically involves false promises or otherwise going back on things that have been said. When that happens to you, how does that make you feel? Not too great I would guess. Knaves like Dr. Robotnik (Sonic the Hedgehog), Saren (Mass Effect), and the Joker (Batman) are great examples of changing their mind when it is convenient for them – often to the dismay or detriment of those that serve them.

This rapidly erodes trust, which can lead to decreased levels of communication and collaboration. In turn, that can have a cascading effect that decreases morale, productivity, and otherwise negatively impacts a wide variety of other elements of your business. A great example of this is seen in turnarounds related to remote work policies promised during the pandemic in 2020: United Press article.

Treating Your Humans Like Resources

Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars), Sauron (LotR), and Voldemort (Harry Potter), all have this in common – the humans that work for them are treated like ‘things.’ The expectation is that each individual falls in line, follows orders without question, and otherwise should not show any emotions or individuality. In other words, the expectation is that the ‘minions’ should not be human. The ruling malfeasants like those mentioned above don’t care who you are as long as you do the work.

Sound familiar? If so, you might want to take a hard look at your leadership style.

When people are treated like machines and not the individuals they are, they quickly lose interest in doing the work assigned to them. As humans we have a deep need to be recognized as individuals with our own aspirations, desires, talents, and limitations. Don’t destroy your reputation as a leader by making this mistake.

Hopefully this post gave you a chuckle since you are not a villainous cad of a leader. If at any time you are feeling that something could be better in your leadership practice, I am here to help! You can click ‘Contact’ above to schedule a chat. 

Remember, until next time, be the hero your life deserves.