Leadership is something we all do, even when we do not see ourselves as a leader. Whether or not you feel like a leader, you are a leading someone. Whether you have the job title of leader or not, someone is watching you. There are those who look to you and follow your actions. Someone – team member, a child, or a neighbor – is following your example.
So, acknowledge your leadership by pausing and declaring, “I am a leader– to someone!”
The real question, then, is not whether you are leading but how well you are leading.
3 C’s to Walk Your Talk
From your own personal experience, you know how difficult it is to follow someone whose actions do not align with their words: they do not walk their talk. It may have been that they made a promise and did not keep it. It may be they promised a deadline but did not meet it. It may be they set a direction but did not move toward it.
You have felt the frustration and confusion resulting from trying to follow such a leader. As you identify with this, you understand the importance effective leadership.
To be an effective leader it is vital that your actions be consistent with your words. To help you develop your leadership to the next level, here are three C’s that will help you walk your talk.
Credibility is damaged by the kind of leadership described above. A good leader must be credible.
Credibility is established by the agreement of action with words. A wise leader weighs words carefully before speaking them. Rather than being caught up in the excitement of any moment, an effective leader measures carefully what is said and walks intentionally by words spoken. Credibility is established when actions and words agree.
A clear message is very important for good leadership. Be very clear: construct your message by thinking being intentional about what you want to communicate. As a ministry leader, business leader or community leader clearly casting vision is critical to moving forward. Your words are parcels of your credibility requiring careful packaging. They are not mere sounds. They are carriers of who you are: a gift, that when opened, fulfills the promises made.
A message worth saying is a message worth repeating. Clarity comes with simple repetition of key phrases and thoughts. Usually, for a message to have impact, it must be heard in a variety of ways at a variety of times. Key language – intentional clear messaging using key phrases repeatedly – is essential to this process.
After constructing your message, present it carefully and clearly by using the same language in every avenue in which you present it. Weave it into emails, print, or conversations until it resonates with those who follow you.
This begs the question, “Do you know what your message is? Do you know what you are about?”
Moving Forward is such an event that will help you construct these simple messages: vision statements, tag lines, and other succinct statements expressing what you are all about.
You have a message to carry. It is your responsibility as a leader to carry your message effectively. A clearly crafted message is key to bringing your dream to life by inviting others into it with you.
You can be consistent in your actions in three ways.
Do What You Say You Will Do. Walking your talk requires that the words you use are consistent with the actions you choose. Carefully choose actions that agree and re-enforce the words you have spoken. Credibility grows when your message is clearly walked-out through consistent actions.
Signal Your Turns. Provide turn signals to acknowledge inevitable changes in vision or direction. As messages mature, they must often be refined. As they are refined, the words used may also be refined. Just as the Joseph Company is now expressed as a refinement and repackaged as 7M-pact, your message may be refined from time to time. When that happens, signal the turn: acknowledge the change and build a bridge of credibility for others by reconciling or modifying your vision. Do this to allow those who follow you to navigate the transition.
Acknowledge When You Get Off Track. Acknowledge when you stray. Own your mistakes and deviations. Use your mistakes as leadership opportunities. Acknowledging a mistake and redirecting toward your message emphasizes and re-enforces its importance and your integrity to stay the course you have proclaimed.
Inconsistent actions provide competing signals to your followers. A lack of clear talk means a lack of a clear target or destination. A lack of credibility results in a loss of momentum and followers will not be able to follow. Credibility, clear talk, and consistent actions bring order and destiny to what otherwise will end in confusion and chaos.
The degree to which you walk your talk is your testimony before God and man. Measure yourself by these three C’s and walk your talk.
How can you apply this?
- As an individual at home or at work
- On a team or organization you lead, and
- In your marriage and family
Walk your talk at all three levels and watch your message come alive.