As a leader, you will spend a small fraction of your time giving big public speeches. Instead, leadership happens moment by moment, person by person, both through your words and deeds. There are hundreds of moments like these every day. Each moment sends messages that can ripple throughout the organization, with impact that you may or may not intend. If you would like to better match your intent and impact, earn the right to lead, and demonstrate true leadership presence, you must commit to working on how you show up in each of these moments throughout the day. Gauge the effectiveness of your communication and presence by asking yourself the following questions:
- What messages do I send based on how I spend my time?
- What messages do I send based on the people with whom I spend my time?
- What messages do I send based on how I allocate resources?
- Am I authentic when I speak, or do I come across as manipulative and even dishonest?
- Do my deeds match my words?
- How well do I model the desired culture and values of the organization?
- How much integrity would my colleagues say I have?
- How do I respond to failures when people take risks?
- When do I provide praise and other rewards, and what messages does this send?
- When do I provide criticism or punishment, and what messages does this send?
- What behaviors or results am I tolerating that I shouldn’t be tolerating, and what messages am I sending as a result?
- How well do I communicate expectations, how employees can be better, and what I appreciate about their work and contributions?
- How do I carry myself when I walk, speak one-on-one, and participate in meetings?
- How well do I listen and understand?
- How many different styles do I have for communicating in different, challenging situations?
- How well do I influence others one-on-one, in groups, and throughout the organization?
This is only a partial list of questions to explore. How well you present at your next “big speech” is very important, but your most significant impact happens in the daily conversations that you have with others. For more ideas on how to become a more effective leader, click here to download a complimentary copy of my 10 Leadership Mistakes ebook. Find out what mistakes may be lurking in your blind spot and compromising your impact and influence as a leader.
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