“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” —Robert Fulghum
Everyone is Watching
Robert Fulghum’s above quote is applicable not only to children, but to employees, colleagues, and competitors. If you are a leader, everyone is watching you. They want to see how you behave, who you are, and what you value.
How you behave
They are watching to see how you behave. Are your actions aligned with your words? Do they know what to expect from you? People want to follow those whose behavior is consistent. If you’re a loose cannon, you will make people nervous. Nervousness never equates to trust and without trust you cannot lead effectively.
Who you are
They are watching to see who you are. Are you the same person out on the floor as you are behind closed doors? Are you the same person in the office as you are in your personal life? People want to follow those who are authentic. If you are a different person to their face than you are behind their back, they will not trust you and they will not follow.
What you value
They are watching to determine what you value. Do your values line up with those you preach to your employees? Are your values the same as theirs? People want to follow those whose values they can respect. If you preach one thing and live another, they will not respect you and you will lose the credibility and trust needed to lead.
Why it Matters
You may not realize it, but what they see matters. What they see will either inspire them to follow you or cause them to turn away from your leadership. As a leader, you set the example; you show them you are either friend or foe; and what they see impacts your ability to influence.
You set the example
As a leader, you set the example. It is not ‘do as I say’, but ‘do as I do’. They are looking to you to set the standard for behavior by your actions. If you are authentic, trustworthy, and supportive, they will also be authentic, trustworthy, and supportive of you and others.
It determines friend or foe
What you say, who you are, and what you value signals to others that you are either friend or foe. If you are a foe, they will be on the defense at all times. They will not trust or follow you. If you are friend, they will give 110% to helping achieve your loftiest goals.
It impacts your influence
What they see impacts your ability to influence and you cannot lead without influence. If your behavior inspires trust, you will have influence. If you are authentic, they will develop the trust in you that you need to influence. If they share your values, they will respect you and you will gain influence. Of course, the opposite is also true, your behavior, lack of authenticity, and less desirable values will have a negative impact on your influence and your leadership.
How will you behave now that you know everyone is watching?
© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli
Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.