Is your leadership scary?

top-25-horror-movies-of-all-time-20101013024710061It’s Halloween season and that means many children – young and old alike – are anticipating a night of costumes and candy.  This season also ushers in haunted houses, jack o’lanterns and scary movies.

There is an allure by many folks (albeit not me) to scary movies.  In fact, this site rates the top 50 scary movie classics of all time.

So it makes me wonder…if we compared leaders to scary flicks, would your leadership style rate very high on the list?  Surely not!  But let’s check out the movie criteria and see how you measure up.

Scary movies make you jump.
In the movies, it’s always dark.  Our character is usually secluded somewhere and the “monster” lies in wait and attacks at just the opportune time when no one is looking (cue the music).  Something loud happens on the screen and everyone in the theater jumps!  As leaders, does your team feel like you are just waiting to attack or catch them doing something wrong?  Or perhaps, out of nowhere you explode causing those in your path to jump and regain their composure?

Scary movies keep you guessing.
We’ve all done it.  We scream at the TV during one of these movies telling our character to not enter “that” door.   Or we cover our eyes as the music builds to something bad about to happen.  These movies do an excellent job of keeping us on the edge of our seats guessing what will happen next.  As leaders, do we do the same?  Does everyone on your team have clear expectations and receive regular feedback on performance from you?  Or are they often guessing how they are doing?  “No news is good news” may be your mantra but it leaves everyone on the team guessing.  And every minute spent wondering is one less minute your team is focusing on your customer.

Scary movies leave victims.
Pick the movie.  Typically one by one people fall victim to the bad guy until only one (or perhaps no one) is left standing.  And at times the audience may be left dangling for a possible sequel.  These movies don’t work unless there is a bad guy hurting someone.  As leaders, are we leaving victims too?  Do you explode when a mistake is made?  Does your team tiptoe around you with bad news?  If that’s the case guess what—you’re the bad guy!

There is one big difference between scary movies and leaders.  The movies are make believe.  Unfortunately, your team may be living in a movie they would rather not star in.  So this halloween season, let’s keep the bad guys in the movie and just enjoy the popcorn.

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