Leadership Behavior: Be aware of your audience

A way to serve

My son recently received a promotion in the civil air patrol. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be at the ceremony, but my husband was there, and he recorded it for me. 

I watched the ceremony unfold, and I saw my son up there at the front of the room with two senior people, saluting and holding his certificate. But then, I quickly noticed all the new cadets, sitting bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I saw them looking at my son in awe. And as my mother’s heart filled with pride and admiration, I realized the importance of that young audience. 

I thought to myself, how often do we ask ourselves who is sitting at the table watching us? As leaders, it is so important to pay attention to our audience at all times. 

Given that leadership is an action primarily dedicated to others, we should be highly aware of our audience and how others perceive us. 

How will others view your leadership style? 

It can be incredibly difficult to maintain a carefree and confident leadership stance at all times. Especially in the moments where things are going wrong at work. When things seem to be falling apart, or you’re constantly caught up in putting out fires, it is extra crucial to maintain strength in your leadership position. 

Remember that there is an audience observing you. Try not to crack under pressure, and definitely don’t cast negativity on peers, leadership, or your organization. A leader is a representative of their company’s vision, brand, and mission. Leaders cannot be duplicitous in their allegiance. 

How would those fresh, excited cadets view my son if he left that ceremony and tossed his certificate in the trash or made fun of one of his superiors? So often, leaders exhibit behavior like that and don’t bat an eyelash. Unfortunately, complaining has found too complacent a home in many of our organizations. Leaders, I encourage you to rise above and exhibit the ideal you represent. 

How will they assess your choices and decisions?

Leadership usually consists of our words and actions, but the less vocalized aspect is our choices. As leaders, we can easily forget that every choice we make has a ripple effect that will touch the rest of our organization. 

Again, other people should remain at the forefront of our minds as it is for their sake that leaders serve. 

I have an entire chapter in my most recent book on leadership, The Art of Caring Leadership, on Team Decision-Making. I detail how to consider the strengths of your team before making decisions that will affect them. 

While the decision-making process can feel very lonely in theory, especially for leaders who are part of a one-person team, it is a process that thrives the more perspectives it takes into consideration. A leader who makes decisions without consulting others comes across as self-centered.

Impact: the end goal of leadership

The most notable sign of a good leader is the impact and legacy they leave behind. Ideally, this takes form as their caring leadership legacy extends into their peers, who exhibit caring behaviors in their own lives. 

One way to ensure that those around you develop in their leadership journeys is to maximize their strengths. Delegate to your team and test their limits. Give them leeway to make mistakes but also to grow and reach new heights. 

There are five ways to assess your employees’ strengths to meet their needs better and encourage their growth. The five ways are: all staff feedback, the employee themselves, social or intranet posts, gauge team success and notice who was involved on each side, and assessments. Use assessments such as Strengthfinders, DISC, Meyers Briggs. 

The next time you assess one of your employees, focus on these five areas to understand how to work together with their needs in mind as you make your next strides in your leadership journey. 

Leading is all about the others. Who is your audience? Do they know that you care?

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