…who you are. “Leadership is influence,” according to leadership guru John C. Maxwell. And nothing influences people more than the personal example of their leader. When leaders are new, what they say carries a lot of weight. But before too long, people start to pay more attention to what the leader does. And if that is different than what they say, then people dismiss that leader’s words very quickly.
It’s been said, “people do what people see.” This calls out that the example of the leader speaks much much louder than their voice. And recently, John Maxwell called out the corollary to that, “people keep on doing what people keep on seeing.”
If you want to lead your people to embrace continuous improvement, the best way to build that culture is to practice continuous improvement yourself. If you are improving your work, those you lead will see you doing that, and be inclined to do the same. If you are telling people to practice continuous improvement, but not improving yourself, there will likely be significant headwinds to getting the behavior to take hold in your team’s culture.
Your best leadership tool is who you are. The best gift you can give those you lead, is a better you.