A true Leader Inspires. People naturally follow Leaders… when looking at an organization see who people emulate. They may preach, BUT it’s the “leading by example” that matters.

I often warn those I mentor, and my mentorship is also often by example, or simple engagement, not a direct mentor/mentee relationship… to stay away from those who manage with fear and believe leadership is about control. Leave that role when you can… you build your voice and brand by the actions you take.

Your employees watch your leadership style and take cues from it. If they never hear a word from the C-suite outside the executive office or if they feel there is a disparity between your stated values and what you actually do—watch out. It’s hard to “rally the troops” if they don’t feel connected to you or your ideals. Parents can get away with a “do like I say, not like I do, attitude” (not that I recommend it) but true leaders cannot.

Leaders who truly inspire their employees lead by example. They’re personable and accessible, and employees feel they can trust them. Do more of that or you’re likely to lose your employees with the highest integrity—the ones you really want to keep.

I think very often Leaders give too much thought to what they think their brand is or want it to be, and not enough time listening to what those around them think it is. Your Brand/Business is what you do; your Reputation is what people Remember and Share.

For the most part many who are thought to be in leadership roles are actually simply managers… managing is not leading. Managing is important and valuable, but people follow and rally around leaders… people simply “listen” to managers (if that).

Today’s executive has to know what’s going on in and around his or her company and/or industry at all times. And the only way to do a good job of that is to learn to navigate the digital and social landscape and use those tools to listen, learn and engage with people at every level. A big mistake I see leaders making too frequently is insulating themselves from the realities of the business and everyday life. But the pandemic has forced many to fix a lot of this… digital and social tools have become part and parcel of their reality now.

I like to say that Relationships are like muscle tissue, the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become. Before the pandemic many could allow themselves to believe they had or were building those relationships simply by being in the same building or at the same events as others… now that has become clearly impossible at scale, so they MUST become more actively engaged using tools that they can’t simply gloss over and assume people know they are there.

I believe Leaders, and everyone who wants to connect with others, need to be mindful of how they connect and the impact they make daily. 

“Return on Relationship™ (ROR) #RonR… simply put, is the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship, whereas ROI is simple dollars and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations, and sharing, and is used to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating an authentic connection, interaction, and engagement.”

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