“Pay less attention to what men say. Just watch what they do” (Dale Carnegie). Who we are is less about what we say and more about what we do. In today’s society, there is a lot of talk. We have become conditioned to always have something to say or respond to things of which we agree or disagree. We live in a noise filled world where talk is abundant and cheaper than most everything in life. People's words do not support their actions. Many people in our society speak one way, but live contrary to what they preach. We need to learn the ability of being quiet leaders.
Leadership is about influence. Many believe that influence comes from speaking relevant and important things. How this might be a type of influence, it is a cheap form of influence. Anyone can get behind a camera and record nice videos and then post them to social media for thousands to see. However, social media comes with one significant flaw. What was once posted is quickly forgotten. A video is watched by thousands, maybe even millions, of people and is quickly swiped away to be forgotten. Social media may be a form of leadership, but it is impersonal and lacks the accountability to live what one preaches. As the author, Patrick Ness, once said, “You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
Leadership is not about what is said, but more about what is done. For example, the worst type of leader is someone who uses a lot of words, makes everything sound pretty, but once they're off the stage, they live completely contrary to everything they just said. This accounts for 99% of politicians. Another example of poor leadership is someone who barks orders or expectations to their team, talks about accountability, sacrifice, and service, and then heads back to the office never to be seen again. You see, words are just noise. If you want to lead loudly, you need to learn how to be a quiet leader.
So what exactly does it mean to be a quiet leader? To answer simply, “Actions speak louder than words.” A quiet leader is someone whose actions speak for their leadership. They don’t speak unless they need to. They work hard and allow their actions to speak loudly. A quiet leader is seen more than heard. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave. They are the ones who will make the necessary sacrifices to see others succeed. A quiet leader will choose to park in the back parking lot to give the front spaces to their team. They do what needs to be done without complaining or pointing fingers. The quiet leader takes extreme ownership of everything. They lead by example.
Bottom line, if you want your team to perform or act a certain way, you must be the example for your team. Your actions must do the leading. If you want respect from your team, then you must be the first to give it. If you want your team to step up and make sacrifices, then you must be the first to do it. If you are unwilling to do what you are expecting from your team, then you lose all credibility. You can bark orders all day long, but if your actions don’t match what your expectations are for others, then you are an ineffective leader. Quiet leadership is all about action and not words. When others see you walk into a room, walk onto the production floor, walk the halls of the organization, they are watching what you do, how you act, how you respond. Let your actions do the leading. Be a quiet leader.
As always, stay humble and serve well!