People always watch the leader – whether you want them to or not. What are they looking for? Fundamentally, people are watching the leader for clues - clues regarding what’s important to the leader and clues to determine if the leader is trustworthy.
The good news is that leaders can take a quantum leap forward on both of these fronts simultaneously if he or she is willing to embrace the final practice of great leaders - Embody the Values.
When we do what we say we’re going to do, when we walk the talk, this builds trust and confidence in our leadership. When we fail to Embody the Values, we erode or destroy our opportunity to lead. As leaders, we must be adept at building trust.
3 Steps to Embody the Values
Know your values. What are the beliefs that you want to drive the behavior of your organization? You need a short-list, 4 – 6 would be best. You want these values to be an active filter for decision making and action in your organization. If the list is too long, it will be nothing more than the short-lived product of the last off-site leadership retreat.
Share your values. People ask me if you can build a great organization without stated values. You certainly can. But, why would you want to make leading harder than it already is? If you don’t tell people what’s important, they will guess – and they may guess wrong.
Live your values. This is the part that matters most. If you are going to say something is important, you’d better be ready to live like you mean it. If you don’t, you’d be better off keeping quiet about your values. People always watch the leader. If we are consistent in our attempts to live our values, we can build trust and confidence in our leadership.
Nothing shapes a culture faster than a leader who is willing to tell people what’s important and living like you mean it.
Would you be willing to share your core values? If you would, please send them via a comment to this post.