On Mondays, many high school, college and professional football teams get together in a dark room and do the same thing: they break down the game film. It’s often not a pleasant session after a team has lost. Their performance is under a microscope. Many plays are paused, replayed again and again in slow motion. Actions are scrutinized at a hyper-level.
Because comments like, “I dropped that pass coach, but I want you to know my intention was to catch the ball” or “I did miss three easy tackles, but my plan was to not miss any” would not be met kindly, they’re seldom heard. Why? It’s what you do that counts most.
People do not judge you by what you think or feel, only by what you say or do. While your intentions may be in earnest, it’s your impact that is evaluated most. Impact comes through action, action through behavior.
The following are four leadership qualities that require specific action for higher effectiveness:
The Teaching & Mentoring Leader
- Determine motivations of top talent by asking them about their passions and professional goals and follow up to stay aligned.
- Take time to teach, explain and confirm that understanding has occurred.
- Make certain that grooming future leaders is a non-negotiable calendar commitment.
The Responsive & Reliable Leader
- Live your word: Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it, without excuses.
- Cultivate trust via prompt responsiveness and respect others through acknowledgement of their inquiries.
- Follow up with staff and colleagues to ensure alignment and healthy communication is a front-burning priority.
The Service-Focused Leader
- Make individual meetings a standard to customize your connections and build trust.
- Even in stress or work mode, demonstrate courteous actions to team members.
- Designate “what service will each of us focus on most?” in weekly meetings and get 30-second comments from each attendee.
The Recognizing & Rewarding Leader
- Evaluate effectiveness not just by numbers or business output, but by the impact of how team members connect with colleagues and clients.
- Determine what recognition looks like from person to person by asking what incentives motivate him or her.
- Don’t just think about the positive qualities of others. Take time to express specific appreciation to staff and clients.
If you are currently in a leadership position with people under you, how would your direct reports and team members say you measure up to these? How well does your boss demonstrate these with you?
The “thought-leader” becomes a better performer and contributor to organizational success, ultimately through proof of observable behaviors. That’s what success boils down to in anything we do, but it begins with giving yourself an honest assessment. Perhaps the late author and business management guru Peter Drucker said it best:
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based sales and leadership development firm and a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales conferences and management meetings. For more information, visit www.victoryconsulting.com.