Are YOU demonstrating AMBIGUOUS leadership?
People will believe your certainty. They may not know if an idea is good or not. But they will believe how certain you are, that it is a good idea.
When you are certain – project certainty.
I’ve seen million dollar deals sunk
because the person pitching came across as uncertain – when it was clearly the right thing to do. And it’s not about bluffing. Trying to convince someone of something, when you’re not certain about it.
Even when you don’t have a definitive view about a matter, you still can project certainty through your body language, voice, speaking cadence, message structure and clarity of message. For example, you could say, projecting certainty. ‘My view on the matter is this. I’m 60% for option A and 40% for option B. That’s my view.’
Why do I mention this.
Because of an insightful article by Adam Bryant Ambiguous times are no time for ambiguous leadership.
Here’s part of an excerpt from the article about a leader who wasn’t aware of the perceptions of him by his team.
“So, I walked right past the receptionist, didn’t talk to anybody, went into my office, and shut the door. I did my conference call and then forgot to open my door when it was over. About three hours later, our head of research knocks on the door. He said, ‘Can I talk to you? We’ve got a problem. Everyone’s saying that the company’s in financial trouble and that our research is going to get outsourced.’ I said, ‘What?’ Then he said, ‘You walked right into the building on the day we released our financials, and you didn’t talk to anybody. You shut your door and you locked yourself in.’”
Lawson added: “In fact, our financials were fine, and I told him the story of what happened, and he started laughing. I spent the rest of the day walking around, telling people that everything was fine. But it was a great example of how your actions can be misinterpreted. If you don’t communicate, people will make up narratives themselves, and those narratives may be negative.”
You may have heard the saying, ‘the fish rots from the head’.
I’m sure you know – how you lead, act, speak etc – will be reflected in how your people lead, act, speak etc.
Any time someone can see or hear you, it forms an impression and a potential for loss or gain. If you maximise the number of positive impressions you leave, you’ll maximise your hit-rate if achieving the results you want from your team.
Own the Conversation
I suggest you read Bryant’s article (it’s short). Then reflect on what perceptions you are leaving with your team.
Particularly in the current and future world of hybrid interactions and meetings, consider a trusted person you could ask about the positive and negative perceptions you’re leaving with your people.
After that feedback, consider what behaviour change you could make whenever your people can see or hear you.