There is no trivial comment for leaders. I would also argue: for anyone. How you show up and what you say have impact.
Your actions and conversations are monitored at all times by those you work with. The upside of that is you have great ability to influence change and your culture.
Nobody is perfect, and your co-workers shouldn’t expect you to be. However, not fully owning your conversations will quickly produce an environment of low morale and engagement.
If you’re having a bad day and you show up at a meeting with a bad attitude, that will be noticed, talked about, and internalized by those around you. Have multiple bad days in a row, and you can watch people quickly disengage from you.
Below are three steps you can take to help you more fully own your conversations.
Step 1: Obey your Instincts
Want to build emotional capital with people really quickly? Then obey your instincts. Take the example above. If you leave the meeting knowing you just showed up in a way that you would never tolerate from someone else on your team, contact those who were there and apologize. It’s that simple, and there is no need to go into detail about why.
If your attitude was because you were unhappy with your team, take this opportunity to address the issue head on and reschedule another meeting to discuss what was bothering you.
Step 2: Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality
Is communication not something you feel totally comfortable with? Many don’t. Maybe you need to continue to develop your communication skills. Reach out to others within your organization and see what training your company is offering, or spearhead bringing training in yourself if it’s not available.
Leaders in companies, regardless of titles, recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and set out to help improve them. Make your job easier by paying attention to how effective your conversations are, and if you need help, do something about it.
Step 3: Take Responsibility for Your Emotional Wake
Part of being a leader is developing your emotional intelligence. One of the ways you do that is to take responsibility for your emotional wake. Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s pioneering research on human communication tells us that only 7% of how we communicate is the words we say, 38% is tone of voice and 55% of communication is non-verbal.
Meaning, even when you’re not speaking, you’re conveying something. Being aware that you are doing this can be a challenge. When you do take notice, it doesn’t stop there. To make sure you aren’t infecting your culture with a lingering wake, check in with people. Also, when you catch yourself putting something out there that isn’t productive, address it right away.
How do you take responsibility with your conversations?