As a leader, it's important to remember that your words and actions are like the marks of a pen on paper - they are permanent.
You may think that what you say or do at the moment is fleeting, but the reality is that it can have a lasting impact on the people around you.
In this blog, I want to share some personal stories that illustrate the power of a leader's words and actions and offer an action checklist to help leaders ensure that they are using their pens wisely.
John Maxwell, one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, believes that "leadership is influence". This means that every time you speak or act as a leader, you are influencing the people around you - for better or for worse. I remember a time early in my leadership journey when I didn't fully understand this principle.
I was leading a team meeting and one of my team members made a suggestion that I didn't agree with. Without thinking, I dismissed their idea and moved on to the next topic. Later, that team member pulled me aside and told me how discouraged they felt by my response. They felt like their opinion didn't matter and that they weren't valued as a member of the team.
This was a wake-up call for me. I realized that my words and actions had a powerful impact on the people around me and that I needed to be more mindful of how I was using my pen as a leader. Simon Sinek, another leadership expert, puts it this way: "Leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in your charge."
To illustrate this principle, let me share another personal story. I was leading a training exercise and one of my team members was struggling with a particular task. Instead of criticizing or belittling them, I took the time to work with them one-on-one and offer encouragement and guidance. The result was that the team member was able to successfully complete the task, and they felt more confident and valued as a member of the team.
Leadership is about using your pen to leave a positive mark on the people around you. Here are some action steps to help you ensure that you are using your pen wisely:
Listen actively: When someone speaks to you, give them your full attention. Listen to understand, not just to respond.
Speak intentionally: Before you speak, consider the impact your words will have on the person or people you are speaking to. Choose your words carefully.
Act with empathy: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and consider how they might be feeling or what they might be going through.
Practice gratitude: Take the time to express gratitude to the people around you. Show them that you value their contributions and that they are important to you.
Remember, leaders use pens. Your words and actions have a permanent impact on the people around you. By being intentional, empathetic, and grateful, you can use your pen to leave a positive mark on the world.