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Title: Walking the Talk of Your Leadership Values   Send to a Friend
Date: 02/01/2009    

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Walking the Talk of Your Leadership Values

 Mission, vision, values and corporate culture have received great emphasis over the past decade. Leaders have worked to articulate the mission of their organizations and have written their vision statements down in team building sessions and displayed them in company break rooms; hoping that if they said it often enough or if employees read them enough, they would come true.

As powerful as words may be, what gives them life are the actions that support them. Walking the talk becomes the preeminent force in making a leader’s values reality.

Take three of the most common leadership values: Showing respect for others, developing high performing teams and delighting the customer.

All three of these values are great conceptually but how do you make them a reality in your organization?

Leaders that start by focusing on core behaviors that support their values clearly understand what it means to ‘walk the talk’. For example, if you value showing respect for others, what better way to do so then to listen to them. All of us have experienced the frustration of speaking to someone and realizing that they haven’t heard a word that we have said. When we are not listened to we assume that the person we are speaking to either doesn’t respect us or doesn’t respect our opinion. Naturally, the opposite is also true. If we feel that we have been heard, at minimum we will assume that we have the respect of the one listening.

So, valuing respect for others involves listening first.

Growing high performing teams means developing your team members. If this is something you value as a leader ask yourself the following:

· How frequently and honestly do I give feedback to members of my team?

· Am I reluctant to coach employees as needed?

· Do I gloss over problem performance to avoid hurting someone’s feelings?

In order to walk the talk to higher performing teams, giving timely feedback is critical.

The third value that is often talked about is the need to delight customers by offering excellent service. Recently, it has been called the WOW factor. To WOW your customers, you have to be willing to overwhelm them with service that distinguishes you from your competitors. What is the best way to do that?

There is no better way to WOW your customer then to offer them something they want and the only way you can know what they want is to ask them. Once you understand what the customer wants and how they want it, then you WOW them by exceeding their expectations. When you do this, the customer sees that you care about pleasing them. This means showing that you care is the behavior that translates your talk into your walk for the customer.

Showing respect, developing high performing teams and delighting the customer are three of the most common values that leaders aspire to. How well you succeed in living up to them will be judged on how well you listen, how well you give feedback to people, and the extent to which you show you care about your customers.

Walking the talk of your leadership values will speak volumes to the people that follow you. If you want your values to shake things up a bit…walk it out!

Journaling assignment:
What is one value that you have as a leader, but have not yet committed to walking the talk? When will you make a decision to go for it?

Until next time, make it a WOW day!

Warm wishes,

P.S. Encourage your friends and family by sharing this newsletter and invite others to subscribe!

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Mary E. Banks, a leadership, life coach and speaker, is the author of The Multi-Faced Woman, Living by Faith 9 to 5 and her soon to be released, Hope for Troubled Times.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues, but please forward in its entirety. The W.O.W. Leadership E-Newsletter is written and distributed by W.O.W. Consulting Group Copyright (c) 2009 Mary E. Banks. All rights reserved.

W.O.W. Consulting Group | P.O. Box 73268 | Houston, TX 77273

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Walking the Talk of Your ...     02/01/09
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