If you are going to step into a leadership role, you must recognize that people are going to expect more of you. Your standards need to be high as people will be watching you. Some will learn from you what to do (you're a message - an inspirational leader). Some will learn from you want not to do (you're a warning - a toxic leader).
When you screw-up (and you will), with foot in mouth disease, depending upon how senior you are you may or may not be easily forgiven. If you are in a hurry, click here to get a process you can use to make sure you avoid foot in mouth disease.
Read on for what politicians and an internet marketer have done in the past few days that have got me hitting the keyboards furiously! And how you can avoid these screw-ups so they don't negatively impact your career.
A few days ago, I responded to a friend's post on Facebook, of a video of the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, attacking the leader of the opposition party. Nothing new in politics right?!
In my post I made two points about the above video, that quite concerned me.
Firstly, bullying is endemic in our schools. If these are our role models no wonder! We see the people governing our country vilifying and carrying out personal attacks. With a jeering mob standing behind. And the person being attacked just sits there with his supporters having to take it on the chin. In fact his 'mates' are actually almost ignoring the blistering attack.
Secondly, rather than attacking each other shouldn't they be trying to improve our country? It would be a far wiser use of time and energy.
This video could have just as easily been any politician, they are all guilty of this poor behavior. The recent US election showed numerous examples of both Trump and Clinton doing this. With Trump obviously being the grand master at focusing on the individual not the issue.
But it's not just our politicians.
Even the best of leaders get it wrong at times!
What prompted today's article, is another Facebook post I saw this morning. It involves an Internet Marketer that I've respected for years. Ryan Deiss, responded to a comment on his Facebook page, about another person with the word "Douche". (See the post here)
To Ryan's credit, he quickly readdressed and said he was out of line. He took ownership by noting he should have commented on the issue not the individual.
As a side note, I was mighty relieved to see Ryan take ownership of his gaff. One of the things I like about Ryan is he positions himself as a professional businessman. His brand is certainly not that of a hippy dippy, 30 something, in board-shorts who 'happened' to make a gazillion dollars on the internet - for whom the word douche would readily be included in his content.
The point is personal attacks are on the rise. And, we need to call out the leaders in our communities on their behaviors. No matter whether they are in politics, running a business or an influencer in a community. We should expect higher standards.
It doesn't matter who is attacking who, this behavior does not move any agenda forward. It is not the type of behavior that you would see in high performance workplaces.
Vitriol and personality attacking turns attention away from working together and building a better future.
High performance leaders and high performance organizations know and live this whole-heartedly.
Regardless of whether it is a country, an organization, or a team (sporting or business), people who are in leadership positions, must learn early in their career ... attack the issue not the person.
The minute you start labeling someone - he's rude, she's a nutbag, she's lazy, he's a douche etc - you've hit problems. Because you're not moving things forward.
You Can Set Higher Standards By Using This Process
You need to take a moment (I call it the Moment of Choice) and ask yourself, before you hit send or open your mouth:
Why does what he or she did, or said, upset me?
What do I want for the task at hand?
What do I want for my relationship with this person (and if it's social media, you are posting on, what do I want for my relationship with my audience)?
What do I want for my personal growth?
Let's use Ryan's Facebook post as a way of illustrating this process.
The initial post was about a guy standing in front of an expensive car, inviting people to learn how to build their business. The comment was, "Am I the only one who thinks that posing in front of some expensive car/house does NOT increase your credibility but rather diminish it?"
Ryan fires off "Douche. Canoe (in a Disney kinda way)" (BTW - I had to look up what the canoe bit actually meant ~ thanks goodness for urban dictionary!)
Now, that comment shocked me. It just doesn't fit with Ryan's branding of himself and his organization. Who knows what was going on in his world when he fired that off ... maybe he was just caught in a moment when he was relaxed. Maybe he'd had a couple of beers and wasn't thinking straight. Maybe his kids were playing up and he was just blowing steam. Who knows?
Important to note. You're never going to be perfect.
Yet a single unguarded moment can damage your reputation, damage your brand in the minds of the people you are trying to influence and inspire.
Using this skill of 'Moment of Choice' is critical to your success.
If Ryan had paused a moment before he hit the send key, and asked himself the questions I mentioned above, he may have avoided having to apologize. He may have avoided any tarnish on his brand.
So here's how this might have played out with a few seconds of thinking.
Why does what he or she did or said upset me? I'm sick to death of seeing people use skanky marketing tactics. It damages the reputation of all the people, like myself, who are trying to effect a positive change.
What do I want for the task at hand? I want to show that marketing doesn't need to swoop to deception or crass tactics. I want to show that marketing is done using a Predictable Selling System** that gets people to ask to buy from you.
(**BTW - If you are a marketer/sales person this is an awesome program, that you can get at Digital Marketer, so sign up for the free training - and if you're really serious about your success in this arena, you'll then sign up for the entire program. I highly recommend it!)
What do I want for the relationship? I want my audience to see that I am a thought leader. To know that I am someone they can trust to always provide good guidance. No matter whether it is marketing or other topics. I want them to feel that I'm well considered and thoughtful and they can rely on me to show them the way.
What do I want for my personal growth? I want to be articulate, supportive and inspiring whenever I post.
Can you see in a few seconds, Ryan, could have brought himself around to a completely different way to react to the post - no matter how frazzled he was. He could have even started off with ...
"My first thought was Douche Canoe ... but that is little of me, and I'm working on being a better person than that and inspiring you guys to do the same. So, when I got my brain back into thinking mode, and thinking about what I really wanted to inspire you with here's what I came up with......
And, with that mindset, he'd likely have been able to turn it in to a post that provided growth for the individual who originally posted and his entire audience... and most likely been able to weave in the benefits of a predictable selling system ... without being salesy!
It's a simple tactic that works. If you want to go more in-depth in your ability to apply these skills so that you create relationships that are inspiring and remarkable ... rather than conflicted and frustrating, then download the ebook "Successful Feedback".
And to put the icing on the cake these skills go into overdrive when you are clear on your 'because' ... when you are clear on how you want to make a dent in the universe. If you aren't clear on your 'because', use the tools and activities in the ebook, "Mindset of a High Performance Employee" to get the clarity you need.
Taking the moment of choice, and focusing on the issue not on the person is how we effect positive change in our world and be the type of leader who makes a meaningful, positive and lasting dent in the universe.
PS: Ryan if you ever get to read this ... I love your work! And look forward to learning more from you :)