The Simple Secret to being a Healthy Leader

This is the final part of a three-part series comparing leadership and parenting. The first blog addressed the importance of determining who owns the problem – your employee or you. The second blog discussed the importance of a culture plan so employees know exactly what behaviors you expect to drive the success of your organization. Today I address, how to back up your words with action as a leader.

Similar to how kids watch their parents for consistent behavior, your employees watch what you do and listen to what you say. They look to see if your actions match what you say. They look for consistency between what you ask them to do and if you model those behaviors yourself. Kids pay more attention to their parents’ behaviors rather than the things they say. Employees pick up a leader’s actions, too.

For example, look at your company value and mission statement. They most likely include honorable words such as “integrity,” “honesty,” and “trust” which are certainly foundational traits to uphold. They may be a beautiful compilation of words, but does your day-to-day behavior exemplify those words for your employees? Do they see you handle client issues with integrity? Are you honest? Do you admit to your mistakes? Do your actions show you can be trusted? Do you do what you say you’ll do?

Would your employees say any of the following about your leadership style?

Our leaders say one thing and do another….

  • They want us to be on time and they arrive late to meetings.
  • They want us to work out differences and they aren’t on the same page as the leadership team.
  • They want us to honest, but they sugarcoat the truth.
  • They want us to honor confidentiality, but they gossip about clients and employees.
  • They want us to finish projects, but they often don’t follow through on promises.

As you read the above, you may have had a defensive reaction. From your perspective, you know information your employees don’t and you feel justified in your behavior. Further, you know the intent 

of your leadership actions is to save money and produce bottom line results in order to sustain profits and employee jobs. While you may have the right intent, when your behavior doesn’t match your words, you diminish your leadership credibility in the eyes of your employees.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Healthy leaders are not afraid to look within, confront themselves, and address issues that undermine the impact and legacy they want to make. Whether it‘s admitting when wrong or rigorous honesty when it would be easier to sugarcoat the truth, healthy leaders walk their talk and are willing to be held accountable.

You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

If you recognize some discrepancy in your leadership style or perhaps have received feedback about negative perceptions your employees have about your leadership style, we can help. Send us an email or give us a call. Choose to be a leader who talks the talk and walks the walk.

Bonnie Artman Fox is a Work Culture Speaker, Consultant, and Coach. She works with senior leaders who want to create healthy work cultures that bring out the best in their employees, attract the best people, and build cohesive teams. From over 25 years of as a psychiatric nurse and marriage& family therapist Bonnie applies her expertise to coach and consult with leaders to replace behavioral patterns that sabotage organizational health with positive behaviors that eliminate infighting, office politics, and dysfunction. To learn more or bring Bonnie to your company, click here and let’s talk.

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