“Positive expectations are the mark of the superior personality.”
- Brian Tracy
The other day my family and I arrived home from a road-trip. In lieu of cooking dinner, we decided to pick it up at a local fast-food restaurant. I’d been seeing a commercial all week about a steak flatbread this restaurant was offering, so I asked my wife to get two of them for me.
Wow—was I ever disappointed when I saw the actual steak flatbread—you talk about not living up to what you advertise. I opened the flatbread to find one skinny piece of steak that would make a Slim Jim look huge… it was absolutely pathetic!
That got me thinking about how many leaders “advertise” a great product and produce sub-par results. These leaders lure us in with their big talk, only to disappoint us by not being able to lead effectively. Yet, much like the great looking ads that get us to buy products, we continue to tolerate mediocre leaders.
Leadership is not a position you can simply promote anyone to… it takes a special type of person. Leaders must be able to make quick decisions; to be willing to know their people; to stand up to major problems; to make unpopular choices; to say no when they see something wrong—even if it’s to the big boss; and a leader must live up to what they advertise!
Whether or not you are living up to what you advertise is realistically between you and your boss; however, one important thing to remember as a leader is you set the tone for others to follow. Are you setting the right example or letting your people down?
Here’s 7 tips to help leaders live up to what they advertise:
1. Don’t over-promise…over-deliver! Instead of making promises you can’t keep, set reachable goals, then strive to exceed them. You will have greater success motivating your team to exceed reachable goals than you will motivating them to achieve unrealistic goals.
2. Speak the Truth! Integrity sets the tone for the company's culture and team dynamics. Leaders must always be truthful to their people and customers. Their people will likely follow suit.
3. Be Accountable. This is one of the clearest ways a leader can live up to what they advertise. Leaders who hold themselves accountable will have no problem holding their teams accountable, and accountable teams live up to expectations.
4. Show Humility. Nobody enjoys listening to people who brag about their accomplishments, especially when it’s at the expense of others. Leaders who are humble show compassion for the people around them, and that produces a happier, healthier workforce.
5. Walk your Talk! A leader must be willing to display the character they expect from others. This is more than leading by example, it’s backing up your words with actions… this is completely living up to what you advertise.
6. Forgive. Leaders who show grace and forgive their people are going to have a workforce striving to do their best—even if it sometimes means failing. Failure is often necessary to achieve greatness; however, leaders who don’t forgive, have people who are afraid to fail… don’t be that leader!
7. Be Creative! Creativity helps you build self-confidence and allows you to handle criticism better. Delivering on what you advertise can be stressful at times because you will meet resistance from naysayers. Fight off the resistance by coming up with innovative ideas to motivate your people.
Run to Your Challenges: In today’s competitive world, it can become easy for a leader to advertise unrealistic skills and abilities, and this can set their team up for failure. However, there’s no reason to stretch the truth of your leadership abilities in order for your people to follow you and your customers to buy from you. By mastering the 7 tips above, you set yourself and your team up for success. Fight the resistance of creating an exaggerated advertisement and reap the rewards of living up to what you advertise!