Recently, I read a book called Corporate Embers by Debbie Nicol. This book explains a variety of scenarios that happen in a corporate environment. Each chapter of the book explained situations that occurred and then went on to ask a question or make a statement about a lesson that can be learned from the scenario. In many of the scenarios mentioned, the book focused on the leader and how they responded or failed to respond. By taking this approach, Debbie makes you think about how you act and respond as a leader.
Debbie discussed a variety of lessons that can be learned as you make leadership choices. Through the scenarios she explained the importance of communication, the leader’s example, building a team work environment, engaging your employees, addressing your customers’ needs, having cultural sensitivity, and many other topics. As I read her examples and the lessons learned, I could envision similar situations I’ve experienced as a follower and as a leader.
Corporate Embers provoked me to think about how I act as a leader. As I read, I thought a lot about the following three questions.
What am I doing as a leader? It caused me to think about how I act in a variety of scenarios. As I read, the following questions came to mind. Am I being sensitive to people’s needs? Am I making people feel important? Am I setting a good example? Are my followers feeling that I care about them as a person? Are people feeling my sincerity? As a leader, you need to pay close attention to what you do.
What message am I sending? When you and I lead, we are constantly sending a message whether we like it or not. When you yell, act casual, or show disrespect for others, you send a message to those you lead. At the same time, you send a completely different message when you talk softly and sincerely, act professional, and show respect for others. As a leader, you need to pay attention to the message you send.
Where do I need to change? Once I reflected on the above questions, I looked at actions I needed to take to be a better leader. Who you are as a leader is not the sum of what you think or say; it is ultimately what you DO as a leader. Once you realize you are doing something wrong or that what you are doing could be improved, you need to change what you are doing and improve. As I read Corporate Embers by Debbie Nicol, I thought about many things I can do to be a better leader. I am now trying to change somethings that I do each day to reflect my desires to change.
Corporate Embers is very thought provoking and helps you to reflect on how what you do as a leader affects yourself, your organization, your customers, and all other people with which you come in contact. So what do you do as a leader? How do you act towards those you lead? What intended and unintended messages are you sending to those you lead? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!