Leaders Set the Tone

If IMG_4204you’re a leader in your organization then you’re setting the “tone” for the entire organization. Now, you can be a leader because of your title or position or you can be a leader in your organization because you influence other people.

The “tone” you set will likely determine the success of those you lead and if your influence is great enough, perhaps the entire organization.

Sometimes we forget we set the tone for those we influence but usually, we are at least a little aware of the fact. What we often don’t realize is “how” we set the tone.

As a leader it’s very possible for you to say all the right things and still set the wrong tone. How you ask is this possible? Well, it happens because our people do what we do, not what we say.  If what you say to do does not match what you actually do then you can be assured that your people will do what you do, not what you say.

You and me, along with everyone else we know are “watchers,” we watch what people do and that’s how we know what they really believe. The “saying” part of leadership is easy, it’s the “doing” part that separates a pretend leader from an authentic one.

Here’s why being an authentic leader is such a challenge: we can’t act the part, we actually have to be the part. We can’t fake anyone out forever, they will “watch” and they will see who, and what we really are.

If you’re a leader in your organization and you don’t like the tone, feeling, atmosphere, whatever you want to call it, then look in the mirror for the source. The change you are looking for in your organization most likely must begin in you.

As a leader you set the tone, the only question is, will it be music to your ears.

7 thoughts on “Leaders Set the Tone

  1. Great post Steve. And many of us know, easier said then done even when we sincerely desire to be authentic.

    Accountability partners with people we trust can help. Being open to feedback can also help. When there is chronic inconsistency between ‘being’ and what we say, preach, teach, I have found that its not ‘always’ due to people being intentionally hypocritical, ‘bad’, etc. In many cases it is due to an imbalance in the amount of truth tellers (speaking the truth in love), which is not always the ‘fault’ of leadership as many people are afraid of conflict, so often hide the truth. A leader can be the most humble and receptive to feedback person in the world, however, if you are surrounded by those who grew up fearing conflict and having to hide what they really think and feel, it’s a challenge making people feel safe enough to start providing honest feedback. Especially to those in leadership.

    The second part to this is denial is another common barrier. For many people. Leader or not. Without some sincere and loving truth tellers and accountability partners, we are so susceptible to being blinded by our own ‘perceptions’ and ignorant of our own blind-spots! 🙂 Even WITH accountability partners, denial can be so ‘thick’ that the person just isn’t ready to face the facts/truth until something severe happens where there is absolutely no possible way things can be avoided anymore.

    I personally wish the ‘being’ part was an instant ‘fix’ but alas, I’ve only heard that happen to one person. And that was Paul on the road to Damascus! haha Wouldn’t it be great to have instant clarity at that level? Most of us have to settle for the slow cooker method…or peeling the onion…one painstaking layer at a time.

    Enough of my ramble. (grins)

    Thanks for sharing Steve.

    1. Yes indeed, it’s nearly impossible for most of us to see ourselves the same way others see us. It takes a long time and when we finally see ourselves clearly we most often don’t like the way we look.

      We’re lucky if we have people in our lives that will tell us the truth and luckier still if we have the confidence to listen to and believe them.

  2. Another good article Mr. Keating. What I’m going to take & meditate is the point that as a leader you can’t “act the part’ you have to be the part. Good word.

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