The Point: Sometimes being a leader is easy, but in those easy moments sometimes you lead others astray! For example, you can share with others how they can properly lead themselves and their teams. However, the leadership challenge is your words will be without merit if you don’t back them up with significant action. If you want people to do the “right” things as leaders in your organization, you should look to lead them in words and action… Enjoy!
At Tip of the Spear, we get to see all different types of leadership moments at play in a variety of different organizations. One such moment is when a leader encourages others to “Do as I Say, NOT as I Do.” Leaders talk a great game, yet when push comes to shove and the rubber meets the road, it’s easy to forget to practice what they preach.
Let’s Break Do vs. Say Down
Here’s an example of the leadership challenge. I was having a conversation with a senior executive who was giving advice to a new manager. He shared some insights of managing and leading that he himself doesn’t employ. It was your classic case of “Do as I say, NOT as I do!” Here is our example in a “Say” versus “Do” structure:
- Say – Our leader shared how to motivate the team (or stakeholders) through moments of recognition and inspiration.
- Do – Our leader’s style was to intimidate and haze others in communication (verbal and electronic).
As you can imagine, as a result, others are mirroring his style and negatively impacting the workplace. Here’s the ironic part… Our leader never recognizes nor holds others accountable for their actions (let alone himself!) Is there any reason employee engagement is one of the lowest we’ve ever seen?
What Would the Kardashian’s Do?
As a leader, all eyes are constantly on you. You’re like a celebrity with the paparazzi waiting to see your next move. Unfortunately, your PR Agent (think Chris Jenner-Kardashian) has not scripted your every move and staged the entire affair for you in front of perfectly positioned paparazzi. Whether you believe this “all eyes on you all the time” moment is fair or not, this is the life of a leader. People are more likely to try to emulate you, versus listen to what you say and adapt those words of wisdom into their own style.
How to Say What Your Going to Do, and Do It! 4 Tips
So, what can you do to improve and help others grow? Here are 4 Tips to help you in your “Do as I say, Say what I do” moments:
- Recognize Your Opportunities – Identify those incongruent words and actions and what needs to change. Seek input from stakeholders (Your peers, superiors and subordinates). Once you identify the “gaps” create actions to shrink them.
- Create a Plan for Change – How can you create habits so that the alignment of your words and actions comes naturally, and supports not only who you are but who you ideally want to be.
- Seek Help from a Coach – Seek guidance and perspective from an impartial third party by hiring an executive coach. We’ve worked with thousands of leaders that had a difficult time following their own advice (Of course, this was pointed out typically by someone on their staff or in their private lives). At Tip of the Spear, we developed our Centered Executive Coaching process around you, the leader.
- Take One Day/Conversation at a Time – Take this process in small chunks and make a conscious effort every day to make one change at a time. Biting off more than you can “chew” could lead to frustration, and that’s not a good thing for anyone involved.
Summary – Let Me Clear My Throat!
Change is not easy and you will have your ups and downs. Know this much as well: Change is not impossible! Set realistic expectations for your perfections. You’re never going to be perfect anyway! By being better yourself, you’ll get the desired results for yourself and your team. Remember, they will continue to watch what you do and do likewise. At the end of every day take time to reflect on what you did well and what you want to improve upon tomorrow. Each morning, commit to improving and work throughout the day to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” on your leadership development journey!
If you’d like more information on Tip of the Spear’s Business Advisory Services, including Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, and Communication Skills Training for Leaders, use the CONTACT US page of this website.