Leadership Effectiveness: Do your actions match your words?

Leadership Effectiveness: Do your actions match your words?Actions speak louder than words.

As a leader, what you do has significantly more impact than what you say you are going to do.

We all know this from our own experience. We have seen the difference between leaders who are accountable and consistent and those who are not. Leaders often make bold statements about their intentions for the future. The leaders who are the remarkable ones say what they intend to do and do what they say. In fact, they place little importance on making statements; they invest the bulk of their time in identifying priorities, building the right teams, and executing effectively.

I’d like to share a story about “Joe,” who is a great leader in many ways. As CEO, he has led his organization every year, year after year, to deliver value to his shareholders. The challenge is that Joe’s style is autocratic and, as a result, many of his direct reports feel intimidated by him. Joe hired an executive coach who worked with Joe to help him commit to accept input from his team, to be open to challenge, and to engage in listening to opinions that differ from his own, as well as to ensure more transparent and candid conversations.

The complication is that Joe often says, “I want to hear your feedback,” or “Now, with my plan and my coach, you know it is safe to talk with me.” However, Joe’s actions in meetings and one-on-ones tell a very different story. He does not really listen to opposing ideas and has been known to embarrass people who dare to present them in meetings.

If Joe wants to change, the best route to take is to start engaging the entire team in helping with the change process – giving the team members the opportunity to also raise their hands and say, “Joe, we know you want to be more effective at listening to our opinions, engaging in constructive conflict, and having your proposals or decisions challenged. Please notice that what you are doing right now isn’t helping the team.” A coach can certainly provide this feedback, however, if Joe invites his team to confront or question him and then shows that he is genuinely adapting – little by little – to hearing them, remarkable things can occur.

For example, “Valerie,” another leader we know, got feedback from interviews conducted in preparation for executive coaching. She received great news on many fronts. An opportunity area that emerged from the feedback was that Valerie needed to improve the engagement level of her team. As part of the executive coaching process, she shared her action plan with her team, thanked them for their feedback and let them know the changes she planned to make. The entire team worked with Valerie to plot a course for her and the team. Now, a year later, things are much better on the team. Everyone is highly engaged and enthusiastic and the team is achieving great results.

Do your actions and words match? What has been your personal response when you have seen a leader that says one thing and does another? What steps can you take to ensure you keep accountable and consistent?

Download This Tip Click to Download This Tip

Transform challenges into opportunities with Executive Coaching Network’s Strategic Executive Coaching

Contact Us Today