Leadership today is increasingly about leaders who serve and followers who empower that person to lead them. Once the leader stops serving, the followers may cease to empower or recognized that person as their leader. The result is wasted energy, lower productivity, and damaged morale.
What a leader says carries more weight than she sometimes realizes. People look to the leader to turn words into reality. “I’ll let you know tomorrow,” or “I’ll consider your proposal,” becomes infinitely more important when it emanates from a leader. Leaders should carefully consider what they promise those whom they lead and make sure that they either keep those commitments or explain why they cannot.
In many cases, when the ball is in the leader’s court, nothing will happen or move forward until the leader responds. For that reason, responding to emails and following up on requests are essential to good leadership.
Further, when a leader asks an employee for a specific action pertaining to a larger project, she should respond to that person’s input in a timely manner. I have had experience with someone in a leadership position who has frequently contacted me with urgent requests and sometimes-inflexible deadlines for me to meet. Invariably, I have shifted my schedule to meet those demands, and, more than once, I have seen the urgent project sit on his desk untouched for months. Leaders should always regard others’ time as important as their own.