By Michael Holland

The moment you were first promoted to lead others you stepped across an enormous chasm.  You thought it was a simple small step forward; just a mere couple of inches to the first rung on the ladder up the organization’s hierarchy.  But in reality you were suddenly one of “them”, part of management and all the great work they’ve done and/or all the great ills they’ve caused.

A concept many leaders ignore is just how impactful they are.  They think that once they leave the meeting or are behind closed doors they are now just an regular employee.

But leaders are always on and should be thinking about their impact all the time.  Leaders leading well know employees are watching them everywhere, all the time.  A great scheme to follow is to assume that employees are always in the room.  Here are three questions you can be asking.

  • What do they see?  Think through how you are behaving and how you and other leaders behave when together.  Are you exhibiting the behaviors that reveal your values?  Are you revealing the stated values of the organization?
  • What do they hear?  Leaders prepare for remarks they will make in the staff meeting or the town hall gathering.  That’s the easy stuff.  But employees “hear” you everywhere and in places you wouldn’t expect to be heard.  What are they hearing you say? What is your tone of voice reflecting? With your guard down, what real language are you using versus the corporate speak that you turn on when you have an audience?
  • What do they experience?  What do employees walk away with after interacting with you?  After watching the leadership team present on how great it will be going through the blah, blah, blah transformation project?  What is it you want employees to experience?

Maybe the defining question is: as you read through the questions did you really care?

Leadership is more of a lifestyle than a job.  Leaders leading well don’t clock in and out they simply live the life of a leader.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Which question did you like or dislike the most? Why?
  • Are there times when you distinctly feel like a leader?
  • What would you want your employees to experience most about your leadership?