If what you say you want does not align with what you do then internal confusion will create external turmoil. Clarity + consistency + accountability = leadership [goals].
Election cycles are always interesting as people are a bit more vocal about expressing their beliefs about politics and “how things should be run.” In the presidential season prior to our current one, when Romney was running against Obama, I remember discussing politics with a few people and asking, “Do you think your vision for how the country should be run (IE the things you say you want the President to be doing) is reflected in your approach to business?”
If you dare to take a moment, take a position that you were particularly vocal about when the political debates were raging, got it? Now bring to mind a time when this issue was present in your life - if a) it isn't applicable, then throw that issue out of your dialogue; b) if it is applicable, did you respond to said issue in relationship to your stated values?
I thought to myself, do I manage and lead my own team in the manner that I believe the President should be running the country. Do my actions reflect my utterances? I know I can see inconsistencies between what other people say, especially with regards to political persuasions, and how they lead their teams. I, like many, feel that I am rather good at juding others (Uncomfortable laughter slowly dies off). I am sure others can see the gaping holes of inconsistency in my own actions without having to peer too far behind the curtain.
Maybe it’s just me, but many times we can be hardliners on issues, many of which are real life issues that affect our businesses which in turn affect the people in our organizations, and yet when we are faced with these issues in real life situations – we don’t act in accordance with what we say our values are. Perhaps this is a blessing (ble$$ed #), because so many of us are still learning to lead. I may puff up my chest on an issue, and I am primarily speaking of those political issues that intersect with business, yet I do the opposite when it comes time to make a decision. Either my philosophy of business needs a re-tooling, or my business persona needs an update, or more likely the answer is both.
What I think leads to what I do and what I do needs to be reviewed and revised from time to time. It’s easy to play arm chair adviser to the President from my couch while watching a debate. It’s simple enough to judge my peers from my perch in the back seat of their lives. In the midst of my keen review of others how often do I take my own inventory to judge my own actions against my pontificated values?
Get right son, or at least get clear, consistent and accountable. Leading by example is the most challenging and the most effective because it calls the “leader” to lead themselves first.
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Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer