What you see is what you get


You receive a promotion. Congratulations. You are now a leader. You are both anxious and excited. That is normal. It will help if you realize that people are likewise anxious and would like to figure out who you really are. Would you be a leader they can trust? Can you run the business well? Would you be a leader who inspires, or would arrogance be your trademark? And most importantly, would you lead your people and provide them with a better future? These are the questions that would run in their minds.

A leader’s primary commodity is trust. As I frequently say in my leadership training, “Trust is the foundation of leadership. Where there is no trust, there is mere pretension. Output and productivity are at its best mediocre.”

Leaders can talk a good game, yet leaders need to realize that their habits and actions reveal more about them than whatever inspiring speech they can deliver. What sort of actions do leaders do that reveal who they are that carry a profound effect and impact on the people so that they are willing to follow? Here are some questions to reflect on:

Do you deliver on your promises?

People remember what you said! You may be forgetful about many things, but what you promised, you better deliver. It may require a little time before people realize that your word is no good, but the trust is gone when they have arrived at this conclusion.

Do not get into the habit of promising things without careful consideration. Be careful about how you deliver. Salespeople know this well, and so should the leader: “Under-promise and over-deliver” this is better than to offer assurances that mean nothing. If you mess up, own up, and you will realize that people respect that. And do not repeat this mistake.

Do you show what your priorities are?

Leaders do not have to tell people their true priorities because they can see them. There is a lot of disconnect in the leaders’ minds between what they “THINK” their priorities are and what they “ACTUALLY” are.

The leader’s real priorities are revealed by what you: Spend your time on. Spend your money on it. What you measure and how you reward. Even when the leader says, “This is important,” but does not fund it, does not provide time on it, does not assess results, or rewards progress. Then the team can rightly conclude that it is not a priority.

Do you care for your people?

Leaders deal with multiple tasks and issues. Leaders are constantly distracted or preoccupied when talking to someone. Unconsciously the leader may brush the people off, show that look of impatience, looking at their screens while conversing with them, which communicates: “Can’t you see I am busy and you are not as important as what I am doing now.” This becomes even more visible now that we communicate virtually. The eye movement is so visible to everyone in the team that the message being conveyed is that people are merely a means to an end and nothing more. How you treat people is a sign that they matter. Or a sign they don’t.

Do you value your family and your people’s family?

How the leader values his or her family would signal whether the leader wanted his staff to value their families. All those endless Zoom meets 24/7 emails seven days a week, and add to that many messenger and Viber chats discourage your team. Such that even if you say, “You guys take some time off, I need to work.” The team would rarely feel secure in taking it. Working long hours without considering the team’s family communicates the message that it is never safe for them to take time off. The rate of burnout today is alarming, even when people are doing remote work!

Do you act and behave properly when the pressure is on?

It has been said that “crisis does not create character; it merely reveals it.” And this is so true. How do you handle pressures? The way you handle things on bad days sets the tone for your leadership. And how you responded in crises will tell you exactly where your character is at. Did you handle things with calmness and objectivity? Did you put your people first before your own?

These are the visible things, and people see them. People follow leaders they trust, and when the trust is not there, there is no leadership at all.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online will have another run this May 17-19, 2021. Develop leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth in the Current Reality and the Post-Covid World. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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