I often create new terms and idioms. In fact, I am trademarking a few right now. Sometimes, our current vocabulary isn’t enough to express new thinking. Einstein couldn’t use gravity to explain the theory of relativity. He invented new language to explain it. When Shakespeare was writing, dictionaries didn’t exist. Talk about freedom for the Bard of Avon! Face it. Everything we say and see was made up at some time or another.
I speak to “leadership at every level” often. Some may say it sounds like a contradiction in terms. Isn’t the guy with the bigger horse or the corner office the guy at the head? Let me explain.
In a powerfully developed culture, leadership at every level (LEL) implies that individuals on your team will always think, act and behave as the leader or owner would — a decisively excellent situation. You can’t be up 24 hours a day, nor can you meet with every customer, but you sleep better knowing your brand or organization is represented consistently and expertly.
How you get there is through ROWM™ — Return on What Matters. When people recognize a higher purpose in what they do, when their voice matters, when they are asked their opinion, when they see management walking the talk and the leader modeling the behavior, when employees hear a lot of “thank yous” and appreciation is a cultural value, you can count on the majority of interactions to be empowered and aligned with your brand values. That is leadership at every level.
The old idiom of “walk your talk” is the first thing employees look to leaders to do when they join a company. If that breaks down, a mixed message is sent, and a split in the culture takes place.
We took over a hotel once as yet another management company. The resigned team had “heard it all before.” Yes, we wanted to inspire them and tell them how things would improve, but after we said our piece, we added, “Don’t listen to what we say. Watch what we do.” They did. So did we. Success followed. You could say great leadership calls forth great “followship.”
Whether it is followship or leadership at every level, nothing is as rewarding in business as knowing your objectives are carried in the heart of every employee. That’s great leadership — at any level.