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Your Actions Impact Your Ability to Give Trustworthy Leadership

Graphic Showing Taking Phone CallIf you know Deb, watched a webinar, or heard her speak in person, you’ve most likely heard her reference DWYSYWD. It stands for "Do What You Say You Will Do." It’s always resonated with me. Even prior to hearing this acronym, I’ve always felt as though I’ve followed through on my promises. But now when I promise something, I’m always reminded of DWYSYWD and take that extra step to ensure I'm exhibiting trustworthy leadership and not letting anyone down.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

I have recently been going through the Workplace Conversations e-training courses, and I was reminded of DWYSYWD. In this case it was in the context of leadership and credibility. To be a good leader (and I’m not referring to a boss or manager -- that’s just a title), earning and keeping credibility is important. A quick way to lose that credibility is not following through on promises that are made. Sure, things slip here and there...we’re all human, but every time you fail to DWYSYWD you lose a bit of credibility.

As I got further into the training I was reminded, that people watch what we do. Obviously they notice the big things, but the little things matter as well. I completed the section of the training, answered the follow-up questions correctly, and I was feeling pretty good about my own actions and credibility.

Fast forward a few days…

I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife and two kids. As many kids are these days, mine were on their phones. Typically we try and keep electronic usage to a minimum while eating, but we’re probably not as strict about that as we should be. That night my kids were watching YouTube videos and to be honest, the videos started to annoy me. It made it even worse that they were both watching separate videos and I could hear the audio on both. I asked them to turn off the electronics until after dinner...about as nice as an upset & annoyed father would in that situation.

A few minutes later I caught myself on my phone. I was scrolling through Facebook, Reddit, etc. There was no sound, so it couldn’t be annoying anyone; what’s the big deal?

After a minute or so I was reminded of the Workplace Conversations training and “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” I began questioning my actions. How could I reprimand my children for being on their phones watching videos while we’re eating and then continue to sit at the table on my own device? People watch what we do ... even our 9- and 10-year-old children.

To be honest, I felt bad. Did I lose credibility with my kids? In their eyes am I less of a leader? Probably not because of this one situation, but I have to question: What other actions am I taking that don’t align with what I am saying? Are there little things that I am doing at the work that are hurting my credibility. What about with clients?

If I am being honest, I don’t exactly know the answer to those questions. I want to be seen as a leader. I’d like to be a person that people WANT to follow. But now I realize how important credibility is to be seen as a leader.

Bottom line: Credibility isn’t guaranteed, it’s earned. We can quickly lose credibility over big promises that we fail to follow through on, that’s no surprise. But we also can lose credibility of our actions (big or small) don’t align with our values.

The Workplace Conversations training goes much further than credibility, but this section resonated with me, especially after I encountered a situation that questioned my own credibility. If you’re aspiring to be a better leader at work, at home, or wherever, it’s well worth the time!

(Note: Workplace Conversations is also available in team training sessions.)

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