Lead by example
A manager’s behaviour has an impact on everyone around them, and an effective manager is one who inspires their team by showing the way with their own actions. This can be a powerful realisation: if your managers are turning up on time for meetings and showing they’re open to receiving feedback, their people will do the same.
The first step in walking the talk is for the employer to work with their managers and teams to identify the organisation’s values and standards, and communicate them clearly. Then it’s simply a matter of ensuring that the actions of everyone in authority match up. People will be inspired if they experience total harmony between what their employer and managers are saying and what they can see them doing day-to-day.
But it’s not just about how the manager and employer relate to the organisation. The team needs to feel how this benefits them. If the management team has identified ways to improve its culture, then it’s vital it follows through on its actions – and it’s down to the manager to be the face of those changes.
Walking the talk is crucial to team morale and motivation, yet so often it can take a back seat to other more ‘pressing’ tasks. Yet while it’s easily done, those discrepancies between talk and action can become very destructive very quickly.
Much of this can be cured with effective time management. Employers should encourage managers to take personal responsibility for how they use their time: to cut down on the meetings they attend and to prioritise their tasks – redirecting time towards empowering their team instead. It may help for managers to log their regular distractions as well as what causes procrastination, and what effect this all has on the typical workday.
The 80/20 rule states that the relationship between input and output is rarely, if ever, balanced: only 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. The key to walking the talk may well be to focus on the 20%, in order to make the most effective use of your time.
It’s down to the employer and managers to act as the guardian of your organisation’s ideals. Whenever they realise the objectives, standards or culture aren’t being met, they need to do something about it – constructively. And that’ll be far easier to do if it’s clear that they themselves are in tune with how things are supposed to be.