Leadership:  How do you show up?

Part 1.  Is your say/do ratio high enough?

Don’t you wish people would do what YOU want to do?  You have good ideas, don’t you?  And you’ve got all the data to back them up!  Wouldn’t you like to be the one everyone trusts?  The freedom to work/lead/live the way YOU want – now that’s the way it ought to be! It doesn’t always work that way for me, and I suspect it doesn’t always work that way for you.

If you want people to follow you more readily, here’s a tip:  consider how you show up in your world – or as someone once said to me, is your say/do ratio high enough?

Your “say/do” ratio is the daily barometer of how much people trust you, think you’re capable of, and are willing to follow you.

So what makes up your “say/do” ratio? Being on time.  Meeting deadlines.  Keeping promises, implied or spoken.  Contributing even when you’re not expressly asked.  Responding promptly to invitations, especially RSVPs where someone is spending money on a per head basis. Being willing to take on something new, different, out of your comfort zone – like public speaking (in support of a new initiative), fund-raising (chairing your company’s United Way campaign?).

The truth is, these are out of almost everyone’s comfort zone – until you’ve done it, and you didn’t die while you were doing it! Going the extra mile to take care of someone’s problem… The list is endless – but you get it, don’t you?

Part 2.  The “wake” you leave behind…

Someone said to me recently, “Don’t you think Janet is hard to be around?  It seems like every conversation gets turned into a platform for her political views.”

I knew what this person meant – even though I happen to support Janet’s political views most of the time, I’m uncomfortable talking about politics with anyone except family and very close friends.  And that’s just the point – Janet makes me uncomfortable.  The wake Janet leaves behind creates a wave of negativity for people around her, and their negative response toward her creates another wave of negativity for ME!

Here are some other behaviors that create a negative wake:

  • Talking about money; complaining too much about your kids, in-laws, neighbors, boss; bragging about your stuff, your kids, how hard you work (like everyone else doesn’t!)
  • Being “needy” – constantly needing affirmation, advice, being made to feel you’re OK
  • Always being the heavyweight in the room – the one who’s been there, done that and loves to tell everyone else how to do it.  I call that “sucking all the air out of a room.”

What do these things have in common?  It’s the incessant focus on yourself that makes people wish you’d just stop talking and listen to what’s coming out of your mouth!

There’s a really simple fix for this problem and it will make people trust you and want to be around you.

Here it is:  instead of talking about YOU, ask about THEM!  Did you know that we all have an invisible tattoo on our forehead?  It says MMFI – MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!  Nothing makes people feel more important than asking their opinion about something, or asking about their kids, their work, or something hard they’re going through in their life right now.

My friends, when you give someone the precious gift of listening to them without interruption and especially without giving them unsolicited advice, you’re creating a wake of positivity.  Just like the wake a boat leaves behind it, the positivity grows behind every person and creates another wake of positivity for the next person they encounter.

And you know what else?  YOU will like yourself better too…

Coming next:  Part 3.  Ask bigger questions.