As a “key leader” CEO, CFO, CIO, VP, etc. you have a very powerful influence on both the leadership style and culture of the organization.
STOP…Close your door, set all of your papers aside, do not answer the phone and take some reflective time out.
Think about your answers to the following important leadership questions.
- What “leadership philosophy” am I communicating at my staff meetings?
- With regard to “people leadership” do I clearly and constantly communicate what I expect of my senior executive team or my department?
- With regard to “business leadership” do I clearly and constantly communicate what I expect of my senior executive team or my department?
- What leadership tone and corporate culture do I expect my executive/management team to set…and model…and are they?
- What “specific leadership message” do I want them to communicate to those they directly lead and on down the line throughout the organization?
- Do I use/discuss the contents of leadership books and articles with my staff?
- What degree of tolerance do I and my staff have for those who don’t practice solid leadership, grow the corporate talent…and live the corporate culture?
- With regard to modeling the corporate culture…At the senior level does my staff demonstrate customer value focus (internally as well as externally)? Do they unleash employee potential? Do they challenge the status quo and allow others to do the same? Do they ensure inspired leadership? Do they encourage diversity, especially diversity of thought? Do they practice and instill excellence everywhere? Are they committed to teamwork when it is needed?
The reason the answers to these questions are important is that quite often the subjects of leadership and corporate culture are not fully engaged at the senior level. Many people in supervisory roles get so involved in day-to-day tactics that they miss almost completely the impact their role as a leader has on “all” the individuals they are charged to lead.
Most leadership books provide solid roadmaps for going from good to great and orchestrating good leadership principles. But a book alone does not make people change. It takes key individuals in leadership positions to truly engage in the process of forming and nurturing organizational culture and ethically leading organizations in today’s chaotic environment. To be most successful, organizational culture can not be treated simply as a program, but rather it must be viewed at all levels as a way of “being and doing.” This “soft stuff” is hard work, but as a leader you already knew that.
Now that you have taken the time to think about “Leadership by Example” take the time to write down in concrete terms some of the things you will specifically do to model the way for those you lead. The shadow you cast can be seen and felt by everyone with whom you come in contact! As a leader model the way…Action Beats Brilliance!
By John Hester