On the first Monday of the month (May 4th) my wife commented that I had “set the tone” for the day. I don’t think she was particularly pleased with me, but that’s a topic for another day. As leaders, we set the tone for those around us both by what we say, but more importantly by our actions and the company we keep.
Look around your business. Are you happy with the “tone”? Is everyone pulling their own weight? Do they pitch in to help others when necessary? Do most live the company culture and values (whether or not written and posted on the wall)? Do the bottom line results reflect this?
The leaders at my most successful clients tend to demonstrate the following:
- Their actions match their words. People quickly spot someone who says one thing and does another. That’s not leadership.
- Won’t ask anyone to do anything they haven’t done in the past and wouldn’t do again if necessary. That doesn’t mean they still take out the trash at the end of the day, but they might have in the beginning.
- Accept accountability for results and admit mistakes. Ultimately, they know they are responsible for the results of the company. They don’t play the blame game or make excuses.
- Have maintained a solid capital structure. They use appropriate leverage for their industry and life cycle of the company and have financial capacity for the unexpected.
- Look for solutions and ask what is necessary for success. They then plot a path forward. Someone once said to me, “Just because we haven’t done it before, doesn’t mean we can’t do it.” I always try to keep that thought in mind.
- Demonstrate calm in the face of adversity by taking a measured approach. When the going gets tough, they increase their efforts and assure those around them that together they’ll find a path through the storm (even if it’s not clear what that path may be at the moment).
- Surround themselves with others who behave in a similar manner. They will not tolerate behavior that is counter to company culture and are willing to show someone the door if necessary.
What tone do you set?
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