Are you all talk?

Monday, 25 February @ 7:00 AM

I love the message, “Leadership is Action… not Position.”

I think it is so important for people to understand that they can lead regardless of their title or position.  Tapping into the leadership potential of everyone involved gives an organization a huge advantage.  Of course, the other side of this message is important too.

Being in a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader!

Leadership is Action… A common leadership pitfall comes from trying to lead with words that are not backed up with action.  The words can be compelling and the intent quite sincere.  But if the actions of the leader, and the organization, don’t align with the words – then the words become empty.   And a leader whose words are “empty” can not effectively lead.

So how to avoid this pitfall?  Here are a few thoughts:

Choose your words carefully.  Your time and resources are limited.  Make sure the words you focus on are the words you want to invest your time backing up with action.  Ask yourself:

  • Do these words reflect the organization’s highest priorities?
  • When you’re pressed for time, are these the words you will still make time for?
  • Are these the words you want your organization to embrace… to live?

Bring the words to life.  I met with a leadership team last week to prepare for an “all hands” meeting.  As we worked through the  objectives and agenda I realized that we were still spending more time saying the words than we were living them.  We turned our focus to finding ways in which we could demonstrate the words instead of saying them.  I believe the actions we chose will speak much louder than the words.

Ask yourself and others – are we walking the talk?  Make time to step back and watch, listen, ask… not about projects or deadlines, but about the words.  Make a list of the ways in which you (and others) observe the words coming to life through the actions of the team.  If the list is too short – do something about it.  Become more intentional about how you invest your time and make sure that you are setting the right example.

Stop saying the words.   Action always speaks louder than words.  Once you see that the organization’s actions reflect the words, let the actions do the talking for you.

My work with Philanthropegie provides many great opportunities to see leaders in action.  I am often amazed at how naturally many nonprofit leaders live out their words.  Perhaps it comes from their passion for what they are doing?  Perhaps their reliance on volunteers and donors has forced them to become more effective leaders? Whatever the reason, I know their leadership inspire me.

I would love to hear your examples of great leadership in action!


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