The Leader Placebo Effect poses a significant challenge to effective leadership, threatening trust, morale, and organizational effectiveness. Leaders must recognize the importance of aligning words with actions and fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and consistent communication. By addressing the root causes of the Leader Placebo Effect and implementing strategies to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality, leaders can cultivate a workplace environment built on trust, engagement, and sustainable success.
This exercise applies to everyone from the C-suite to the core leadership of any organization.
This deliberate practice is about personal observation and being honest with yourself. If you are reading this far into this lesson, congratulations because you are seeing something in yourself that you don’t like or you are doing a self-check and want to know if you are on the right track. Either way, grab your journal and start writing down what you see in yourself.
Start with these parts of this lesson:
1. The Leader Placebo Effect: When Actions Fail to Align with Words
2. The Value of Leadership: Asking Staff What You and Your Staff Don’t Know
3. Authentic Leadership: Fostering Openness to Ideas from Staff Members
If something in any of these three parts caught your eye or made you stop and contemplate your actions, write down what it was. This is a good place to start your observation and determine if you need to make adjustments in yourself.
If you want trust, open communication, and collaboration with your staff, department, or organization, you must start with having trust, open communication, and collaboration within yourself. If you can’t do this with yourself, you can’t do this with your staff.
The second part of the deliberate practice is to be accountable for what you are working on. This is not always comfortable to do but necessary. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are part of the C-suite or core leadership, you need to find peer(s) you trust to be candid with you. This will result in developing a leader community for yourself.
This part requires you to do the following:
- Be specific in what you are working on and write it down.
- Determine how you will measure your progress and make sure what you choose is measurable. Use the SMART goal approach.
- Share with your peer(s) what you are doing so you are accountable for your work. Schedule check-in meetings, usually once a month, and bring your notes on what worked and what didn’t. Your trusted peer might see something that you didn’t and can share a different way to approach something.
- Be open to the feedback.
To the new leaders
Whether you are moving within a company or are new to the company, this applies to you. Stepping into a new leadership role always comes with challenges. So what we do is bring along our practices which worked in our last position. This is commonly known as baggage. Some leaders I work with don’t bring baggage, they bring cargo.
I’m not suggesting that you drop off your baggage or cargo on the sidewalk and leave it there. I’m suggesting you put it into storage until the time comes when you have a better understanding of what is going on within your team, department, or organization.
My suggestion is to do these three parts in this order:
- The Value of Leadership: Asking Staff What You and Your Staff Don’t Know
- Authentic Leadership: Fostering Openness to Ideas from Staff Members
- The Leader Placebo Effect: When Actions Fail to Align with Words
Don’t ever assume you know what you signed up for. It’s the nuances of the team, department, or organization’s behaviors and personalities that are shrouded in the shadows that you need to bring into the light. Understand the nuances, then you can start to unpack the right tools you need for the job.