Are Your Actions Undermining Your Words?

man walking into blockaded sidewalk | are your actions undermining your words?Carl Jung famously said, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”

As clear and simple as that statement is, I’ve seen hundreds of otherwise successful leaders behave as though it doesn’t apply. If you want to quickly kill your company’s culture, consider making that mistake yourself. 

Here are a few ways I’ve seen others do it.

How to Undermine Your Own Words

  1. Look the other way when a top performer doesn’t share your Core Values. Who cares if your best salesperson runs roughshod over anyone who gets in his way? Every other employee, that’s who.
  2. Disregard a policy because you’re the owner. It doesn’t matter how small the rule – exceptions will kill you. If you want everyone else to be accountable for a dress code, or for showing up on time, or for not using cell phones in a Level 10 Meeting, follow it yourself. Or eliminate the rule for everyone.
  3. Give constructive feedback to others, but don’t take it yourself. Effective TWO-WAY communication is the key to great leadership and management. If you love telling others what to do but get defensive or argumentative when receiving it, you’ll drive some of your best people away.
  4. Expect everyone else to hit their scorecard numbers and complete their Rocks and To Dos, but don’t do it yourself. This one speaks for itself, right?

Leaders Who Walk Their Talk

The leaders of a company running on EOS® work their tails off to create a clear, simple Vision and Plan (using the V/TO). They clarify everyone’s roles and responsibilities (using the Accountability Chart), and crystallize everyone’s quarterly and weekly priorities (using Rocks, To Dos, and a weekly Scorecard). Once that’s done, leaders should repeat themselves often to get the company’s vision “shared by all,” and to drive accountability for hitting numbers and completing priorities.

No matter how well or how often these messages are repeated, however, what people SEE is more important than what they HEAR. Leaders who say one thing and do another erode the trust and confidence others place in them.

So, if you’re having trouble getting your team on-board, stop to make sure you’re actions are 100% consistent with the company’s Core Values, and that you’re following company standards and rules. In other words, lead by example and be willing to walk the talk.

Next Steps


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