Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

If you ever wondered if you're paid to talk about doing things rather than actually do them, you're not alone. Many businesses suffer from the same ailment – stifling innovation by running good ideas through the ringer. Hours of meetings about the same topics and endless email chains can kill good ideas before they ever get off the ground.

Actions speak louder than words! An expression where doing what you say you will do is a greater determinant of behavior and character. People can say anything, but when what they say and do are contrary, it’s easier to judge by what is done instead of by what is said.

For leaders, action is one of the most important traits they can embody.  Taking action means getting things done.  It means seizing the initiative.  It conveys momentum, and energy, and creating something new, something that didn’t exist before.  And this excites followers and others who understand that going towards something is always better than sitting around staring at the wall.

People will usually listen to what you say, but they really pay attention to what you do. You can't say one thing and do another if you want to be effective as a leader. What you say is important. However if your actions are different than your words people will assume the actions are what is true.

It’s easy for leaders to exhibit a disconnect between what they say we stand for and what they really do stand for without even realizing it. When this happens, it has an unmistakable effect on the effectiveness of teams and individual team members. If your words aren’t consistent with your actions, you’re not only confusing the listener, you may also be causing irreparable damage to your own credibility.

When you “walk the talk,” your behavior becomes a catalyst for people’s trust and faith in you. And it also emphasizes what you stand for. Leading by example shows people exactly what you expect and gives them living proof that it can be done. On a deeper level, leading by example and being as good as your words builds trust. It’s a sign that you take what you say seriously so they can, too.

In the end, taking action is simple.  You do or you don’t.  The hard part comes when we introduce doubt, fear, concern about what others will say (or not say) and the outcome being failure.  If you have a great idea, why not take action?  What will happen if you fail?  You’ll learn from the failure and perhaps, have even more great ideas.  You’ll also be taking action and not just merely talking about it.

“Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.”  Benjamin Franklin

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