My friend and colleague Donna Karlin asked a question the other day that has lingered with me: “Are you paying attention to the impact you are making?”.
In my business, it is important that I pay attention to how I impact my clients in order to assure that I am not interfering with the results THEY want. Donna’s question is a great reminder for all leaders to remain vigilant about their behaviors.
The Importance of Behavior to the Impact You Make
It isn’t uncommon for leaders to be oblivious to their behaviors and the impact they have on others. People are watching – closely. Leaders tend to get scrutinized more closely than others. This can result in seemingly minor behaviors getting interpreted in a big and occasionally unintended way. The impact of the behavior can be much larger than expected.
When we become aware of these behaviors and the impressions they make, a whole new world of becoming intentional about how we show up and impact others can open.
Some Real Examples
Jane was learning to allow her employees freedom of decision in how their work got done (her intent was to let go of micromanaging). In the beginning stages of learning to “let go”, her employees were reading her facial expressions and body language as disapproving while at the same time, her words were encouraging. At best this misalignment was confusing – at worst, it was damaging to her team and the results they needed to achieve.
Chris couldn’t commit to keeping our scheduled coaching meetings. Every meeting was rescheduled at the last minute. I asked him if there were other commitments in his life and work that he wasn’t keeping. Bingo. Upon reflection, he realized that this was a pattern, resulting in others’ perceptions that their needs were lower priority than whatever the crisis of the moment was.
Both of these leaders needed to take notice and take action to assure that their impact was in alignment with what they intended it to be. The relationships they had wih those around them were eroding.
Change the Behavior, Change the Impact
Luckily, these two really wanted to make changes to the behaviors that were causing problems. The behavior changes they made were able to change the impact on others to one that was positive. This may be easier said than done. But simply put, Jane aligned her body language with her words, and Chris kept his commitments. These changes have resulted in positive impact on the relationships they have – presumably a much better situation for them and their organizations!
We all want to make a positive impact. It is important to know the behaviors that impact others and change them when necessary. Seeking feedback is one way to be informed of these behaviors. For some, self-observation, observing the reactions of others, and reflection work.
Are you paying attention to the impact you make?