3 Telltale Signs of Leadership Intent
Recently these three situations came up in a couple of organizations. Each can define leadership intent-honest or dishonest. It reminded me that little things can make a big difference. At first I thought no big deal. However, after reviewing what happened and getting feedback from a few others a leadership lesson began to formulate in my mind. Businessman Harold Geneen said, “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.”
Defining Leadership Intent
Leaders may aim to create trust but their intentions tell a different story. As a result distrust destroys their credibility and team efforts. Here are three example situations that help define their real objectives.
- During an interview does the leader ask questions mostly about what talents you bring to their organization so it succeeds? Or, are the questions about how the company can help you succeed in your career at their company?
- Only a daily basis does the leader talk more about the company’s success or his or her personal ambitions. And, takes credit for any good news and gives blame for bad news. Or, does the leader give the team credit for victories or progress? In other words, do they say or act on, I or We most of the time?
- Does the leader treat relationships (co-workers, team members, customers) with respect and care? Or, does the leader make regular comments (smothered with niceties) that belittle, degrade, criticize or are sarcastic about other people?
Leadership Intent: Distrusted or Trusted
Over time the reality of leadership intent shows itself based on the words, tone of approach or voice, and the behavior of the leader. Would you agree with that? Dr. Albert Mehrabian pioneered discussion about what makes the biggest impact on a person’s communication. He found three areas determine the negative or positive impact of communication.
- Words-this is what we say!
- Voice tone-this how we say it!
- Behavior-this what we do about what we say!
Certainly, all three matter but not the same amount. What percent do you think words make up? Voice tone? Behavior? Words equal 7% of our communication. Voice tone equals 38%. Consequently, that leaves 55% of our communication is what we do about we say. Therefore, our behavior, this includes body language, rules the communication result of leadership intent. It creates or breaks trust. If these are out of sync a lack of integrity is exposed. Consequently, conflict rises regularly, animosity grows and problems fester. If they are aligned trust reigns, and team performance jumps to higher levels.
Have you seen these? Any other situations come to mind? Let me know your comments.
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See this post, Learn the First Rule of Leadership Success.