Don’t tell first. Act first.

Hands in the air if you’ve sat through one of your leader’s speeches where they spoke about the values and behaviours that they wanted to see from their team, yet they did not display them themselves?

(Way too many hands in the air right now, I reckon.)

A shepherd doesn’t get his sheep to go first.  He doesn’t say to them; ‘Hey. I’m gonna take some time out. You guys find your own way home while I go out for a while. I’m with you though. I support you. You can do this’.

In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek shares the story of when he met the Marine Corps General in the US and was told that when it comes to meal times – ‘Officers eat last’. They are at the back of the line, sacrificing their own comforts for the sake of their team. The same happens on the battlefield. They don’t ask their squad to go anywhere that they are not prepared to lead them in to. The officers teach their troops about values by demonstrating them (not by talking about them).

At mealtimes, Officers don’t call HR and ask them to stand at the back of the line and show the others how to walk the talk. To wait for others to go first before they eat their meal. They don’t ask HR to run a training session on setting an example. They own it. They do it. They take responsibility for the culture they want to create. A culture of respect, where they value others.

So why would we ask our people to find their way without leading them first?  That’s the fast track to reducing trust and respect. Even if we are not good at it doesn’t mean we can’t ask for it.

We need to show self-awareness, give it a try (maybe fail) and then share your learning and get up and do it again, and again.

Old school ‘command and control’ leadership is out. The new style is ‘I show and then ask’. It doesn’t demand perfection. It just needs honesty, openness and action.

Brilliant leaders look at what they want to create and then address what they can do. They own the responsibility first.

Imagine if in every interaction we had with someone, we chose to look at our role first. What if we assessed what we could contribute or what we are doing that’s not helping?

Great leaders practice great leadership.  Are you a great leader?  Or a great talker?

If you want to learn how to create better cultures, get excited about Georgia’s new book, Feedback Flow. COMING SOON in 2018.