I remember the first few months of my first managerial position. After getting my feet wet by meeting my team, getting to know them and beginning the process of developing trust, my company sent me to an AMA first line management course.

We did the usual activities as we received all the pearls that our instructor had learned in his career. I still recall the question that he asked all the new managers in the room. “What has been your greatest learning so far as a leader?”

As I thought and pondered that question, I had an epiphany. It was a simple lesson. I had learned that as a leader I needed to recognize the power I had over my employees’ lives. I don’t mean this in an egotistical way but rather as a practical principle. When I spent time with my people, how did they feel at the end of the day? Did I build trust with them? Did they feel inspired? Did I mobilize them to accomplish their goals? Or did they go home and want to “kick the dog?”

As a leader you must recognize the power you have over your employees’ personal and professional lives. I am not talking about authority or position. I am not talking about ego. I am referring to the impact, either positive or negative, a leader can have on her people.

I often ask leaders if they are a “dog-kicking boss.” It creates a greater understanding of your impact as a leader. Remember every interaction you have with your people is an opportunity for you to build trust, coach and inspire them to be better and to help them perform their job more effectively.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to keep your employees from “kicking the dog”, please contact me via LinkedIn or my email at [email protected].