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Emotional Wake: Three Tips To Improve Your Impact

We have to remember as Leaders that our teams are always watching us to see how they should behave.

If you’ve been in leadership for a while, or if you’ve recently taken on a larger role in the organization, it’s easy to forget that your words have impact. Of course, we understand that our teams do as we ask, since influencing them is what we do on a daily basis, but it’s easy to forget how powerful our impact can be.

So with that in mind, I challenge you take a moment and really consider the concept of Emotional Wake. I know this sounds like the corporate double speak I rail against regularly, but it is an easy way to think about the impact Leaders have after they have left the room. Your team absolutely cares what you think, what you say, and how you behave. In a way, you are the star of your very own reality TV show that focuses around your business.

It is the price of leadership. Your team is watching you throughout the day and judging your actions and decisions. Sometimes it can be frustrating and other times it can cause absolute chaos if you say one thing, then act in a way that is diametrically opposed to your words.

I learned this lesson the hard way when I took on a promotion several year’s back. In my mind, I was still the same guy who went to work, tried to deliver great Customer service, and lead a team. What I failed to realize is that while I saw myself as the same person I was before I relocated, the team only knew me in this new, larger role and wanted very much to please the new boss.

What I learned quickly was to be very cognizant of what I said and how I said it – as even suggestions and thoughts were soon put into action without question. This led to some spectacular failures and I knew that I had to put the ketchup back in the bottle if we were going to win as a team. These are the three behaviors I adopted to better lead the team, and I believe they are still serving me well to this day.

REMEMBER YOUR IMPACT: There is no getting away from the fact that your words and actions are going to have impact. What you say matters and will influence your team even when you may not want it to. That means that you have to keep in mind what you are saying and who is listening when you open your mouth. Also keep in mind that often your “suggestions” or “ideas” will be taken as decisions and lead to action being taken. You can certainly help impact the Runaway Idea Conundrum by putting the next point into practice.

BUILD A CULTURE OF SHARING IDEAS: Emphasize that you can make mistakes just like the next person, and you want to hear everyone’s ideas. Make sure you show that you value them by listening and asking questions as well as giving them a fair shake. If you dismiss them out of hand, folks will clam up pretty quickly and you’ll never hear their great thoughts. Make sure your team understands that you might not always agree and that the ultimate solution may be (and likely will be) a blend of several thoughts. Set the expectation that once you arrive at a decision, you do expect everyone to be in lock step and support fully.

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU SAY AND DO: You are on stage and in the public eye during your work day. Don’t give in to your passions and always set a good example. This may sound like a lesson in Leadership 101, but how often have you had a supervisor who was a complete terror? I think it’s actually a good thing for everyone to have “that boss” during his or her career – it helps you see what terrible leadership can do to a team and also inspire you to never act that way. But the point here is that you can set an amazing example for things like Customer service simply by modeling the right behaviors. If you want folks to thank Customers and smile warmly, you can impact that by showing them how it’s done – and that you are serious enough about it to do it yourself. In short, keep your temper in check, watch what you say, and showcase the behaviors you want your team to adopt.

I wanted to take the time to discuss your Emotional Wake because it is a powerful tool in leading your team. It is a difficult proposition to lead, inspire, and hold a team accountable for amazing Customer service. It takes force of will and a dedication to your Guests (and to those who serve them). With all that in mind, you simply don’t have enough time to keep doing things over and over again. If you embrace the impact of your words and deeds – and use them to drive performance and success – you will find that pulling the rope in the same direction becomes just a bit easier.

It also has the benefit of simplifying things for your team – and a team with a well understood mission is poised to deliver AMAZING Customer service.

Until next time, treat your Team like Cherished Friends! Tony

Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker

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