From the Post: Forget customer service practice customer experience
Modeling your actions
James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of the book, The Leadership Challenge, discuss the importance of the five practices of exemplary leaders:
- Model the way
- Inspire a shared vision
- Challenge the process
- Enable others to act
- Encourage the heart
Kouzes and Posner state that leaders have to set an example by aligning their actions with their values. What leaders say and do have to go hand in hand. In his book, The Integrity Dividend, Tony Simons provides evidence that when leaders align their words and actions staff’s trust and respect increase for the leader.
Words and actions have to be based on something, and that something for many of us is our values.
In the post, 1 reason you need to stop worrying about culture, explains the power and the need for effective targeted values. Your values become the foundation upon which you build your leadership ideals, just like the culture.
Is your team experiencing a positive customer experience from you, or something else?
Grab your journal and at the end of the day answer this question, “What have I done today that demonstrates the values that I hold near and dear to me?”
If you can’t answer that question, this is where you start, list your values as a leader, staff member, person, or partner. If you have never thought of what your values are, think of values as behaviors. A behavior is an action that is specific, observable, and repeatable, if you think of values this way you will be able to identify when and where you practice them. Others will also be able to see you living your values, so be careful what you choose.
Start with three to five values, this makes it easier to practice every day, you can more values later if you feel the need. List out your values then define what they mean to you. When you define your values they become specific to you and easier to identify when acting on your values. Here are some values and explanations from other leaders.
- Demonstrate honesty in my communications – My ability to talk about topics, ideas, and concerns with others in a clear, professional, and truthful manner suspending my biases and judgments.
- Be an influence leader – The ability to encourage, motivate, and guide others to think or act in a specific way to achieve common goals. Empowering others to choose certain behaviors rather than forcing them into those actions and beliefs through micromanagement.
- Demonstrate integrity – Meaning to be genuine, honest, and doing the right thing so my staff can count on me to keep my promises.
- I will practice empathy in all of my interactions – I will create an environment where I will respond to my staff’s actions and behaviors in a way that shows my understanding of their feelings.
- I will demonstrate respect for others – I know respect is earned not granted, so I will earn respect by demonstrating respect to others through my commitment to my leadership work, as a team member, and in serving others. Being a servant leader.
- I will support authenticity – I will continue to develop and live my core values daily and create an environment where my team members feel empowered to be their authentic selves as well. I will create a space where my team is comfortable contributing new and innovative ideas and encourage an environment where everyone works together for the common good.
Now that you have identified your core values you’ve asked yourself the question, “What have I done today that demonstrates the values that I hold near and dear to me?” You realize you fell short on one or two of them, or you missed an opportunity to practice one, it happens, so this is what you do.
Ask yourself this, “How do I model the way tomorrow? What do I need to do differently so my actions match my words?” Write in your journal what you’ll do and deliberately practice tomorrow and every day.
What’s the staff experience on your team? For your team to demonstrate the kind of behaviors that develop and support an effective team they need to see it modeled so they know how to do it. So what’s your team experiencing from your leader modeling?
Your personal leader library
If you don’t have a leadership or personal library, start one. It is easy to forget about something when it is on your computer and you turn it off. However, there is something about a hard copy book staring at you every day as a reminder of what you are learning or would like to change about yourself.
Jim Collins’s book, Good To Great, is a good resource book for understanding why some companies struggle with remaining the same and other companies excel. The book was published in 2001 and many of the concepts are still relevant today meaning they are time-tested practices.
Grit by Angela Duckworth is another good book if you want to challenge yourself to be someone different.