Magazine Article | December 24, 2014

What Kind Of Environment Do You Create As A Leader?

Source: Life Science Leader

By Mindy Hall, Ph.D., president and CEO, Peak Development Consulting, LLC

A recent client of mine — we’ll call him Eli — was transitioning into a new role in a new company. After several months on the job, establishing and immersing himself in the new culture, he asked me to collect some feedback on his colleagues’ opinions of him.

As I spoke with his global team, it quickly became clear that Eli was making quite a positive impact. What I heard time and again was how “present” he was in his interactions. He wasn’t checking messages or looking at his watch; he displayed genuine interest in what they had to contribute. His team members felt listened to and valued, and, consequently, they were becoming more willing every day to contribute at higher levels.

Can you say the same of your leadership? Are you aware of the environment you create? Does it inspire people to be their best? If I asked those who work around you, for you, and for whom you work to describe how you “show up,” what would they say? People are watching: Are you intentionally choosing your behavior or leaving its impact to chance?

You are 100 percent responsible for the tone you set. You have the ability to tailor your approach, your message, and your actions to shape the outcome. You must, therefore, begin to see that the primary tool for achieving high-level results is you, as opposed to elements outside of you—such as business models, organizational structure, other people, or circumstances.

Developing this aptitude is possible and begins the moment you look in the mirror and reflect on how you show up, how you affect a room, and what environment you create. Consider the following:

  • How would you like others to describe you as a leader? What do you do to embody that?
  • What kind of example do you set for others?
  • How do you enter a space? Do people perceive you as cynical, positive, detached, present, defensive, scattered, focused?
  • How do people perceive your listening skills? Do you listen to others objectively?
  • How do you handle mistakes that you make? Mistakes that others make?
  • How open are you to changing what isn’t working?
  • Think of the last three meetings you attended. How did you show up? What did you signal with your behavior? What did you contribute? What did you diminish?

During the next interaction you have, choose consciously, deliberately, and intentionally the environment you want to create. Notice yourself: Be in the moment and watch yourself in the moment. How would you interpret your actions if you were on the receiving end? Create a moment-to-moment awareness that allows you to pivot, shift, and adjust. Operating with this level of intention is counter-intuitive to how we live our lives, which is why it is so easy to lose sight of its importance. However, with this awareness in place, success becomes a matter of habit.