You Can't Fool Your Direct Reports

Be the same leader no matter whom you are dealing with.

While it is always important for your leader to think you are doing a great job and to appreciate what you add to the team, the most important recognition comes from those whom YOU lead and who work with you side by side day in and day out.

They really know how good you are and how you behave and lead 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They see you in all sorts of situations that your leader does not see.  We all have a little tendency to behave a bit better or even a whole lot better in front of our leader.  I would recommend that you just behave and lead the same way all of the time because I assure you that “they” are watching everything you say and do, and they are judging you too.

Don’t think your are fooling anyone by acting like a great leader in front of your boss and being a bad leader for your direct reports. Being a manipulator is a sorry reputation to have. As I have said before, “Your career ends, your reputation does not.”

The most valued compliments that I received through the years came from those whom I led. This is good food for thought for all of us!   . . . Lee

PS:  I heard an interesting comment this week. 

“Who is more important:  the person who makes the team better? or the best person on the team?”

You do not have to be the expert to lead experts. You do need to be a good leader, though, and make sure you are there for your employeees in all ways by removing barriers to their performance, by recognizing and complimenting them for their performance, by being available for them, by coaching and counseling them, by helping with their development and by respecting, appreciating, and valuing them.  Do these things . . . and the experts will take care of the things they are good at for you!   . . . Lee


  1. Lee, you taught me this not only because you’ve written it here in words, but because I saw you practice it over the years. Thanks for the good reminder to be genuine – all of the time.

    Frank…Thank you for your nice comments….Lee

  2. One of the things that I always admired about my leader was the fact that he did walk the talk and treated his direct reports with the same respect and caring when no one was watching. I was lucky enough to have such a wonderful working situation for over a decade with Lee Cockerell.

    Hi Chris…thanks for this nice comment and for ordering six copies of my book. I look forward to signing them for you…Lee

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