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Articles > Leadership: Your Do Must Match Your Tell

What can I do to spark my team and get them more excited to perform to the higher standard they have the potential to attain?

 Answer: One of my clients recently hired two new people, one a manager.  He introduced them to his team and asked the manager if he had anything to add.  He quietly declined to offer anything additional.  Later the Sales Manager asked him why he had not spoken and given them more information on himself and what he expected.  He simply replied, "They won't hear a word I'm saying until they see that I can do it."   Interestingly the other new person the owner hired, a maintenance supervisor, said something strikingly similar.  When he was asked how he expected the crew at the company to take care of the equipment he responded, "How can I expect them to take care of the equipment if I don't respect my own area and keep it clean." 

Both of these new leaders knew instinctively that in order to get people to follow them they first needed to demonstrate the characteristics and actions they wanted them to emulate.   Their actions must first demonstrate what they will ask their staff to follow in words.  An article I read quoted a mid-level manager saying: "The do must match the tell."

What do these stories provide?  They indicate a critical aspect of leadership.  In order to expect your people to perform you must demonstrate by your own actions the standards and expectations you expect.  That doesn't mean you need to do the work, however you must act the part, demonstrate the discipline and habits that exemplify the behavior you desire.

A recent article in Harvard Business Publishing, Decoding Leadership, noted that if you asked 30 leadership experts to define leadership, you get 31 different answers.

The author of this article, Norm Smallwood cofounder of The RBL Group and coauthor of The Leadership Code, did provide a set of five rules to decode leadership based on two simple questions they asked a group of recognized experts in the field of leadership who had already spent years sifting through the evidence. The questions were:

  1. What percentage of effective leadership traits are basically the same? 
  2.  If there are common rules that all leaders must master, what are they?
Here is their set of rules:

Rule 1: Shape the future. [This coincides with Gazelles Coaching fundamentals that one of the two critical leadership skills is forecasting, and one of the Four Decisions - Strategy.]

Rule 2: Make things happen. [Corresponds with Gazelles 2nd critical leadership skill of delegating, #3 of Four Decisions - Execution.]

Rule 3: Engage today's talent. [Emphasizes the critical need to understand human behavior, the People part of the Equation, one of Gazelles Four Decisions, and spotlights Aubrey Daniels expertise, one of the speakers at our Dallas Growth Summit and author of Oops and Bringing out the Best in People.]

Rule 4: Build the next generation. [Corresponds to Jim Collins' [Good To Great] emphasis on People, the first of Gazelles Four Decisions, and Gazelles emphasis on Topgrading.]

Rule 5: Invest in yourself. [Another one of Gazelles fundamental principles; learning plus coaching equals growth. It's why twice a year Gazelles joins with Fortune Small Business magazine to host Growth Summit's to provide our clients and prospects an opportunity to learn the latest best practices and top thought leaders in the world.]

Rule number five, invest in yourself, inspires me.  It helps me to perform at a higher level because I know learning motivates and inspires me to higher levels of enthusiasm. 

There are several opportunities for you to invest yourself with some of the leading minds in business coming up at the Fortune Small Business Growth Summit.  You can attend in person or link up via Webcast and learn right from your business.  Ask us to send you the flyer on the Growth Summit or the Live Webcast with Good to Great and Built to Last author Jim Collins.

Need help implementing these ideas?

Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.  We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.