A leader’s actions—good and bad—impact the energy of an entire business.
Does your company staff meeting look like this? Your CEO is constantly cutting team members off to ask questions. One engineer is rolling his eyes, another is looking out the window, and yet another is checking email on her phone. How do you FEEL after leaving your meeting, accomplished and validated, or ignored and agitated?
In my first article on Personal Branding 101, I explained the cliché “we listen with our eyes.” If you think your bad behaviors might slip under the radar, think again, especially if you are the leader. The actions of a leader are keenly observed, and impact the energy of the entire organization.
Take for example a recent incident in which an engineer was seen exiting the designated ladies bathroom, even though the office has a designated men’s room too. A female employee was shocked and asked in an exasperated tone “why did you use this bathroom? You have your own!?” To which the engineer responded, “I see the CEO use it, so I thought it was fine for me too.”
The CEO, who owns the business, didn’t think twice about using the ladies room. What he did not realize was that his actions were sending the message that all bathrooms were fair game, not realizing that he would upset the female employees of the company.
This story demonstrates how observant co-workers are. Once a behavior is viewed as acceptable it sets the tone for others to follow suit. With this mind, demonstrate to your team these three strong leadership qualities:
- Remember that you’re ALWAYS on Stage! In IT we say that our goal is to keep our clients “always-on,” even during a disaster. “Always-on” also refers to your actions when you are with employees. It does not take long for employees to begin to mimic negative behaviors such as rolling your eyes and tuning out during a meeting to deal with another issue. Strong morale stems from a solid culture and a solid leader. Choose behaviors such as listening to employees, and resist the urge to constantly interrupt. Practice positive posture by leaning in at a table or desk while others are speaking and don’t slouch.
- Make eye contact. Studies have shown that making eye contact builds trust. This is most important when you are building the trust of your team AND cultivating new prospects. A prospect may perceive your inability to make eye contact as weakness and lack of confidence. Likewise, an employee may feel that you’re are just not interested in them.
- Focus on your employee not your phone. Set the standard in all of your meetings and put the phone on silent mode. Better yet, institute a no phone policy during meetings. Stay on top of client emergencies by designating a team member to answer the phone, just not YOU! Demonstrate to your team that they have your full attention during this allotted time. It will go a long way!
The next action you take might not be observed by George Orwell’s Big Brother, but it will be by your employee. So be aware of your actions—and please use the correct bathroom!