Ever feel like you are under a microscope? Everyone is looking at/to you for your input and guidance? As a leader, that is part of the program you signed up for whether consciously or unconsciously. Your every action is looked at and defines what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. The same is true with your words. What you say is listened to by your staff with special attention. What you say defines what they can say and have the same amount of latitude when they are speaking. You can’t expect your people to act any differently or speak any differently than what you do on a daily basis.
The old expression of monkey see, monkey do, comes to mind.
The behaviors and language your desire at your business should emanate from you and your leaders. The foundation of these actions and words should be rooted in a solid culture based on core values. When you stray from outwardly expressing your core values – reflecting them in your language and how the words are actually delivered then you are sending mixed messages. Mixed messages confuse the staff, your customers and the marketplace in general.
In your advertising and marketing you would not send a mixed message to your customer – would you?
Then why is it acceptable to do so within the walls of your business?
This challenge exists in many businesses. There is a poor belief that a person can act one way (fake it) and then act another way (more genuine) and can flip this switch at any time to get to a given result. I will not dispute that people are great actors. They can behaviourally shift their delivery and actions to accommodate a given situation. The challenge is what defines acceptable? This is where your organization’s core values MUST be top of mind – front and center.
If they are top of mind for the leaders then they will act and communicate in such a way that affirms your core values. If they stray from the company’s values and introduce their own or some different set of values then conflicting messages are again sent.
One way to evaluate where things are at in your business is to consciously observe and catch people in the act of either affirming core values or not. This week as you look around your business, visually observe and listen to your people. When they are transacting, is the language and delivery in alignment with your core values? Be very specific in your assessment. When you see a given transaction, link the behaviors or language back to a specific core value you have for your business. For example, you see someone going above and beyond their role or duty for a customer. One of your core values has something about customer experience. Take a moment to personally acknowledge the act to the person and link it back to the company’s values. This is leadership in action.
The same is also true for drifting away from core values. Maybe there is a conflict between a couple of employees over a customer situation. Both are trying to take care of the customer (external) but forget that each employee is an internal customer of each other. Yes, the value of taking care of the external customer is part of their energy, but the means by which they take it up with a fellow employee is out of alignment.
As the leader of the business, you need to be highly aware of these situations. Capture the good ones and reduce the out of alignment ones.
Interested in getting your Core Values aligned? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 for us to start a meaningful discussion.