Posted on March 3, 2009 by Dennis Snow
As a leader in the organization, remember that "everything speaks." Your behavior in front of employees "speaks" about what you truly value, and when words and behaviors don't align, behaviors will win out every time. Your employees judge your values by what you do.
Here's an example of what I mean. I was conducting a customer service training program for a company in which every one of the company's employees was attending. The CEO kicked off the session with a fine speech about the importance of customer service to the future success of the organization, and he then introduced me.
During the program, the CEO was constantly up and down taking phone calls, sometimes conducting calls right there in the room. When he wasn't on the phone, his face was glued to his Blackberry, often showing a particular message to the executive sitting next to him.
Every single person in that room (including me) was fully aware of this leader's behavior. And every single person in that room (including me) was making assumptions about how committed this leader really was to the customer service initiative. It doesn't matter if our assumptions were right or wrong, the damage was done by what was observed.
No matter what initiative or project your company, division, or department is embarking upon, you should approach it with the mindset that no one will be more enthusiastic or engaged about it than you are. You set the bar. And everyone is closely watching your behaviors to see where exactly you are setting the bar.
When you're interacting with employees in meetings, training programs, recognition events, etc, what would your employees decide is your priority? Would they say it's the topic at hand, or would they say it's your Blackberry?
You're behavior will determine their decision. Because "everything speaks."