“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”, Mahatma Gandhi. This is a meaningful quote and one I find to be true. I have worked in leadership and with leaders for over 20 years and I am still surprised (although I should not be) when I work with a smart, experienced, and a well read (in leadership) leader who knows all the right things to say, yet does not practice what they preach. For a leader’s credibility and influence, it is invaluable that their words and behaviors align. Nothing will destroy trust in the leader and the organization faster than this lack of alignment. Several years ago I had a colleague who worked with an organization that was having many challenges. This colleague worked for several years trying to get to the root of the problem. She slowly peeled the onion, building trust and uncovering the source of the “cancer”. Eventually the true root was revealed. The CEO constantly spoke of honesty, integrity, and family values, and how important all of these things were to him and the organization, and all the while he was having an affair with a subordinate within the organization. His lack of alignment was not hidden, even though he thought it was… and even when people do not know exactly “why”, they can usually discern when sincerity is not “real”. This is one extreme example of words and actions not aligning. However, misalignment shows up in many forms, such as respecting people, valuing time, being dependable, not gossiping, taking care of your mental and physical health… just to name a few. The truth is that none of us are 100% perfect at leadership alignment, but we should always be striving to be as close to perfection as possible. Are there any places in your personal or professional leadership that are out of alignment? Are there things (even the smallest things) that you do not want others to know about? If so, I challenge and encourage you to ask yourself “why? “ Remember the quote we opened with: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”. You will not only be a better leader when you are in alignment, but you will also sleep better at night, be healthier, and enjoy more meaningful work and personal relationships. To thine own self be true first. Below are 5 questions for the “thought leaders” to ask themselves:
- What are your values?
- How do your leadership behaviors reflect these values?
- When have you been out of alignment?
- Are you usually in alignment?
- If I asked your team members, colleagues, bosses, friends and family members this question, would they give the same answer that you did?
If you would like an accountability partner to work with you on your leadership alignment, you can read more here or contact us. Having a leadership coach is a meaningful way to begin or enhance this journey, and “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, Lao-tzu.