As leaders take on more complex and significant assignments, they frequently notice they behave in ways that are no longer effective. While the leader has many capacities and helpful behaviors, they also have responses that are no longer fit for purpose. I call these default behaviors – reactive ways of behaving from earlier in their lives. This becomes problematic when leaders’ default behaviors are frequent and dominate.
The leader is stressed, overloaded and either loses confidence or become aggressive. Those around them, pull back.
If you want to be easily understood, have better relationships, inspire others and have a reputation for achieving outcomes, the good news is small shifts in behavior have powerful impacts. Corresponding psychological and emotional shifts accompany each of these. If they don’t, you are merely working with techniques rather than enduring behavior. Here are twelve behavioral indicators which have big impacts on your presence and influence.
- Looking at your staff, boss, and peers when you speak to them
- Pausing between sentences
- Saying hello and introducing yourself to new people
- Being deliberate with when you contribute in groups and when not to
- Saying ‘I want’ when you want something: e.g. ‘I want this by the end of today.’
- Saying no without an explanation
- Saying ‘That’s not possible’ to impossible requests
- Saying what you want to say simply and succinctly
- Inviting involvement: ‘What are your thoughts?’
- Letting people know you appreciate them
- Letting people know how you think and feel on important matters
- Being clear on the outcomes you want from meetings
Rate yourself ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on each of these. Avoid rating ‘sometimes’. Choose three to practice daily for the next 21 days, and notice the impact this has on your relationships.