Leading: Set the tone

May 24, 2017 -  By

You’re being watched. No, not by the NSA, or some other clandestine agency. It’s your employees, and your customers, who have their eyes on you. They watch what you do and know it’s much more important than whatever you say. As a leader, you set the tone: Good, bad or indifferent.

When you’re a leader of a business, branch or work group, you stand out and are noticed by others. You’ll get the attention, regardless of whether you seek it out. It will find you and shine a light on your every move. Does that idea make you incredibly nervous? If so, you’re not ready for a leadership role. If it makes you just a bit apprehensive and heightens your awareness, it should; your organization or team is at stake. You owe them the best version of yourself.

To set the tone for success, you must banish fear. If your team sees you sweat, they will think there’s a reason to be worried. Is there? In all likelihood, the anticipation will be worse than any adverse reality. If fear paralyzes the leader, his or her followers will freeze up too.

Conversely, when a leader exudes confidence, others will follow suit. Note that I’m not referring to cockiness or bravado. I’m referring to a leader who knows where he/she wants to go and has a clear idea of how the team can get there.

Preparation breeds confidence. A leader must be the most prepared of all team members, always. This doesn’t mean he or she must be the expert in every role; in fact, to try to be that would be a mistake. Leaders must understand each and every role and how they complement one another. The leader must know which team members have unique strengths and when and how to draw upon them. This approach positions team members to contribute their very best to reaching the overall goal.

Another crucial aspect of setting the tone is to ensure every individual effort is cumulative and not competitive within a team. The point isn’t to beat one another; it’s to beat the competition. It’s up to the leader to set the standards for performance and to monitor them.

To be a leader is not to be everyone’s friend, but a leader must always be respectful. A leader can both be kind and expect excellence. In fact, that’s the very best way to achieve extraordinary goals and enjoy the journey too.


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About the Author:

William (Bill) Dellecker is the Chief Development Officer of HeartLand LLC, which is dedicated to building relationships and delivering exceptional service through leading commercial landscape firms across the Mid West and Mountain West. You can learn more about Heartland at Bill also writes regularly about business culture and leadership on his personal blog, cultivation(s).

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