We get inquiries all the time from managers, directors and organizational leaders about a need for communication training for their teams. And in nearly every conversation, the leader is very clear about the needs and weaknesses of his or her team.
Then, when we actually conduct the training, and once the participants get comfortable enough to speak freely, we start to hear questions like this… “Will our manager/director/leader be taking this course also? Because no one needs it more than they do.”
All of us, including me, are prone to thinking of ourselves in the best possible light. We all tend to see the flaws in others before we see the flaws in ourselves. But if you are a leader within your organization, realistic self-awareness is a pretty important leadership skill. Because your people will figure out quickly if you apply a different standard to yourself as you do for them, and they will resent it. If you notice and point out flaws in them that you possess yourself, or if you hold them to a standard you don’t hold yourself to, it will erode your credibility as their leader and will eventually become toxic.
Taking a hard look in the mirror is not easy, and rarely fun. But being honest with yourself and applying the same standard to yourself as you apply to your team is a critical way to build your brand as a leader. And if you put your team through some corporate training, it can be highly motivating if you, as the leader, roll up your sleeves and put yourself through the same rigorous process. It may not always be appropriate to do so, but if it is, then it can be highly motivating and can really establish a positive brand for you as the leader who is part of the team, and as a person who does not see themselves as “above” the team.
Do the people on your team have poor communication skills? Then create a structure for them to work on it. And do you? Then make sure you hold yourself to the same standard.
The leader who does not practice what they preach will not have very many people who choose to line up behind them. That leader will look back over their shoulder and find few people standing there.
Have a great day, and spend some time looking in the metaphorical mirror.