Do As I Say Not Do as I Do

CEOs behaving badlyA wise man once told me that he was on display every second of every working day.

What he did, what he said, how he interacted (or didn’t). He was very aware of the consistency of what he said and what he did. He was aware that many leaders live by the “do as I say, not do as I do.”

The reason he was a brilliant leader? His mantra was a bit different:

Do As I Do, Not Just What I Say

Shadow of a Leader

The technical term for this is the shadow of a leader, or your leadership shadow. And it’s today’s tip for improving your leadership.

Do As I Say Not Do as I Do

It is easy in the sense that the first step doesn’t involve you doing anything different.

All that you need do is look at your actions. Are they consistent with what you’re asking your people to do?

A great example of this is flexible working. It’s an issue that many organisations struggle with. Almost always they point to their flexible working policy. They question why people are still saying it’s not a flexible working organisation, when this great policy exists.

And my first question is always – what does the leadership team do? When they tell me that the leadership team work 14 hour days, or send emails at 2am, I tell them that their leadership shadow overshadows any flexible working policy. The employees look to what their leaders are doing, not what they are telling them to do, and they take their cues accordingly.

So, if your team isn’t behaving in a way that you would like. Or there’s a mismatch happening somewhere culturally or from a behaviour perspective, take a good look at the leadership team. Are they displaying the “right” behaviours? Are they doing what they are asking the team to do? Do you see them living the specific values?

If not, that’s usually the place to start.

Want More?

If you would like to discuss how I could help you look at your leadership shadow, get in touch.

And if you’re still  hungry for more on being a great leader, you can find my leadership book here.

Until next week, happy leading.



Tammy Tansley
I help give leaders the courage to lead & enable great people performance. Mum to 2 beautiful mischiefs. Long time wanderer @ the globe. Foodie. Runner. Blogger. Author of Do What You Say You'll Do, a book for new leaders and those reinventing their leadership style.

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