Acceptance may be defined as the approval of someone or something, or the affirmation of someone or something. Acceptance is multi-faceted, in that there is self-acceptance and accepting others. This makes it a tricky thing when it comes to leading others. While it may be a challenge for some, others are naturally accepting.
Leaders who are innately accepting may be less judgmental, as often times their judgement of themselves and others can get in the way. Being judgmental can be a challenge for some leaders, especially when they have high expectations that are not being met by others. It could be that they judge others on their performance and the results they produce and this leads to not accepting them.
Acceptance can bring a team together and make them stronger. And in turn, teams that are not accepting, might easily fail given the lack of social skills required to achieve successful outcomes. Teams have the opportunity to develop their own set of norms and culture. When team are well functioning, acceptance may be one of their values or norms that holds each of them accountable for the behaviors.
Leaders have a responsibility to model the performance that is expected of others in an organization. This includes accepting others, which in some cases may be a challenge. Leaders may find that they are biased in some ways against some people which makes it difficult for them to be accepting. This becomes a moral imperative that must be decided by each leader.
When leaders cannot accept those who they have a bias against for whatever reason, it could end badly. Leaders and their companies can and will be held accountable for any behavior that could result in an HR intervention and more serious consequences. For these reasons, leaders must be clear about aligning their values with those of the company that employs them. Acceptance becomes more important when viewed through this lens.
Acceptance of a situation may be required from time to time by a leader. When things are outside of a leaders’s control, they may have a difficult time accepting them. It is how they show their acceptance or lack of acceptance that may define their leadership model. Being accepting can be seen as a positive when it creates a successful outcome; however, there may be situations where acceptance can be seen as a negative. Demonstrating a lack of acceptance is typically seen as a bad thing.
Accepting a situation for what it is and moving on with it is a sign of a proficient leader. The leader must rally others around them and this is just one of the ways to do that. Acceptance of a bad situation can be costly to a leader. For example, when a leader accepts that inappropriate behaviors from others, they are condoning it and normalizing it. This is not good for the culture nor the individual leader. Leaders must hold themselves to higher standards.
Acceptance is a critical leadership trait and as such must be a part of any proficient leader’s model. It is what some might call the soft side of leading. Acceptance must be a core value for any successful leader whether it is a value for their organization or not. Leaders who demonstrate acceptance are more likely to get it in return from others.
Acceptance can have a positive impact on a leader’s way or working with others or it may have a negative impact. The point is for the leader to have the self-awareness to leverage acceptance as a way of growing and developing as a leader while modeling it for their team members.