Women always have it.
Men can take it or leave it.
Babies are fascinated by it.
What is it? The number one leadership tool is the mirror. That’s right, the mirror.
More and more these days I get involved in solving team problems of morale, communication friction, age group differences, and other people problems. In conducting the initial meeting with the leadership team, I ask questions such as:
What is the problem?
What team members will be involved?
What outcome would you like to see from our working together?
This inevitably leads to a discussion of the team problems, and if I establish rapport, the discussion will go into specific individuals and their problems.
I follow the Gandhi/Covey/Maxwell school of thought that requires looking inward first to solve the problems of others. So when I tell them, “My number one consulting tool for this situation is a mirror,” the most common response is a puzzled look. I explain that humans are attracted to behaviors far more than they are to logic and its written or verbal expressions. So if you want to change your staff behaviors, as Gandhi advised, first demonstrate the behavior you want to see.
When you see the behavior in the mirror, trust me, others will notice that same behavior without a lecture, email, or policy update. Modeling change always influences more than describing change. Since leadership is influence, the result is positive and most importantly, sustainable.
So preach the gospel of leadership using a mirror and notice who shows up behind you each time you look. Only use words if necessary.