Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Leadership Skill of ACTION

Last week, I shared a blog that we had previously posted on the art of “Listening”. Listening is one of the key leadership skills that Dave and I discussed recently on The Leader’s Edge, where we introduced Leadership as one aspect of our Fusion Model of organizational and employee engagement.

It seemed fitting to repost the Listening blog to help reinforce the 4 secrets that will make you a good listener. This week, let’s continue the theme of leadership skills and take a closer look at the second concept we discussed during our Leadership introduction: Action.

A team is always a direct reflection of their leader. The energy of the leader turns into the energy of the team. The priorities and values of the leader should be shared by the team. In those cases where the leader and the team members don't share the same values and priorities, something must change. Either the leader will replace the team members, or the members will replace the team leader.

Show me the leader and I will know his men. Show me the men and I will know their leader. – Arthur Newcomb

Knowing how teams reflect their leader, we are always surprised to encounter a leader who states that his team does not share his values. Frankly, it’s not possible for a high functioning team to NOT share the values of the leader. When we encounter these situations, we often find that the team is, indeed, following the leader. But they are following his actions, not his words.

So many leaders have learned the right words or catch-phrases to parrot to their team. The message that “the customer is number 1” is trumpeted loudly, although slightly out of tune. Or they espouse “Our people are our top priority,” while cutting training dollars and hours, forcing unpaid overtime, and raising production quotas, giving no thought to the impact on the employees or the customers.

Actions speak louder than words and team members look past the words of the leader and take their queues from his actions. While the leader espouses the platitudes learned from the latest management conference they attended, the team members see the actions of their leader and KNOW the actions reflect where the leader’s heart really lies.

We have always found that team members are much more observant than they are given credit for. They can readily detect the incongruence between the words and the actions of the boss and they follow the lead set by those actions. It doesn’t matter if the issue is customer service, how you treat your employees, or how punctual you are for work and meetings. Where you lead, they will follow.

If your goal is for your team to treat your customers like gold, then you need to demonstrate, in both word and actions, that the customers ARE gold. If you believe your employees are the key to your success (and we certainly hope you do), then you need to treat them with the respect they deserve.

When you really begin to care about your customers, your employees, and your results, as shown by your actions as well as your words, you will see that all of your team members care about those things as well.

The above article excerpt (the original of which is published on our website) reiterates the point that, as a leader, your actions will speak louder than your words. Your employees will be watching you closely to determine whether or not you “walk your talk”….both so that they know now to act themselves AND to determine if/how much they can trust you and the organization. Therefore, as you can imagine, ensuring that your actions match your words can have great implications for the future success of your organization.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC we are dedicated to improving productivity and profitability by creating engaged organizations. Our unique combination of training and personalized coaching, combined with our expertise in assessments allow us to create a development plan tailored for your success.

Until next time….

Laurie Valaer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. Values plus communication plus action/behavior equals a culture that you can replicate and sustain.

    Keep up the good work and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings