By East Apthorp
East Apthorp is the Marketing Director for AchieveGlobal. During her 15 years with the company, East has contributed to numerous successful initiatives related to the company’s marketing efforts, including strategic planning, research development, product launches, and market positioning.
John Quincy Adams is quoted as saying, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” The essence of this quote also suggests the opposite, that if you’re unable to inspire the actions of others, then you’re not a leader – or at least, you’re not an effective leader. In organizational terms, a leader should be able to model the behaviors that they expect from their team members. But to what extent does this really happen?
Each month, AchieveGlobal hosts an online poll through our eNewsletter, Achieve. In August, our survey asked about the senior leadership team’s ability to model the behaviors they expect from their teams. With over 40 percent of respondents answering “rarely” or “never,” it comes to light that to a large extent, senior leaders are ineffective at modeling behaviors they expect within their teams.
Why is this important? Study after study, and article after article tell us exactly why. In AchieveGlobal’s recent report titled, Let’s Look at the Small Picture: Reframing Your Leadership Development Challenges, modeling the behaviors and skills you want from employees and middle management is one of the top leadership behaviors that loyal employees trust. Similarly, our research around Developing the 21st Century Leader notes that leaders with strengths in the “People” zone make a daily effort to inspire the trust of customers and colleagues.
So what does it mean that over 40 percent of our survey participants said that their leadership teams are ineffective at modeling behavior? In two words: missed opportunities. In large part, leaders who do model the behaviors they expect from others earn a great deal more trust from their team members than those who done. As senior leaders investigate ways to build trust and collaborate with their workforce, modeling desired behaviors stands out as a critical and effective leadership tactic.
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