I have been in leadership and I have been led. This is not bragging, just pointing out that I have seen both sides of the coin. By far, the biggest impact leadership has is in how they make their choices, not even what those choices. Decisions are either made for, with, or to the staff.
When you are making decisions, you need to think about the larger implications beyond what immediately impacts you as a leader. It’s great when business decisions make your life easier, or specific processes more efficient. That is only truly beneficial if the resounding ripples of that choice don’t make the lives of anyone else more difficult. When leaders ignore broader implications, it becomes a decision to the staff, with no regard for the day-to-day burden of their work. This in turn leads to resentment, hostility, and apathy.
Preferably you would make your decisions with your staff. That means calling in stakeholders, talking about ramifications, finding out about processes, and working with everyone to make the best choices. Even to the point of amending those decisions mid-delivery because of unforeseen impacts. Obviously this is the best method, but it is time consuming. You don’t always have time to solve issues as a committee.
But even if you involve yourself with that process often, it will allow you to start to make decisions for the staff. I don’t mean make choices for them, but rather make your decisions with them in mind. Consider the processes that you have learned and your expertise on how they work together.
Your staff can absolutely feel your intentions. And they will reflect them back at you. When you make your decisions with and for your staff, they will feel that positivity. If you get stuck making decisions to the staff, they really won’t have any issues sticking right back to you.
Leadership isn’t power, it’s collaboration.