2016 – fall Issue

Setting the Tone for Success

When you?re in a leadership role, people watch you ? maybe more than you realize. They watch how you invest or spend your time, what is important or not important to you, and how you handle decisions or pressure. None of that is news; however, have you ever thought about how to leverage it? By being purposeful about setting the tone, you can seize a huge opportunity that many people miss.

People will match or exaggerate the behavior, attitudes, and yes, the leadership of their managers or supervisors. For example, if you ignore details, your team will ignore details. If you complain, your team might complain even more. If you excel at giving great feedback, your team will give even better feedback. If you tackle tough subjects in order to make timely decisions, guess what? Your team will do the same.

People who work on projects have likely experienced an atmosphere with either a positive or a negative tone. Think about the leaders of those projects. If the leader plays the victim and blames others for a tough situation, the team will replicate that negative tone by focusing on blaming others. If the leader approaches tough situations or decisions by being proactive, engaging people, and asking for feedback, the team will amplify that positive tone. It is not the project itself that creates a positive or negative tone; it?s the tone set by the leader that makes the difference. If you want a great team, remember that setting the tone each day will bring out the best in them.

This concept also impacts our personal relationships. When I set a positive tone by listening, being curious, and not always telling or judging, my kids will mimic my tone at least some of the time, which is still a win for me. They end up being more reflective and will either be open to hearing ideas from me or able to come up with the best path forward on their own.

Whether you?re at home or at work, lead by example, and remember to be purposeful about the tone you are setting each day and with each interaction. What tone will you set today?