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We Are What We See: What This Means for Leaders

The research is clear. Visual images have a solid impact on our ability to learn and retain. If you want engaged, motivated, inspired individuals on your team, then you need to put those qualities on full display through your own behavior. The people around you will recognize the importance of your example and see that as a model for themselves. In John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the Law of the Picture says it best: “People do what they see.”

How can you enhance the image that you present to your team? Here are a few quick tips:

You can’t fake results

In John’s 5 Levels of Leadership, Level 3 is all about producing results. While at Level 2, the team gives the leader permission to lead them, at Level 3 people follow the leader because they get things done. An effective Level 3 leader knows what it takes to motivate their team and how to get their best. This often comes with striking a careful balance between stepping up and stepping back so that you get results with the commitment and contribution of your whole team. But…

Results shouldn’t come at the expense of relationships

We’ve talked about tasks vs. relationships before, and we’ve warned that Level 3 leaders who focus solely on checking off to-do items and filling out spreadsheets run the risk of letting personal relationships wither. You don’t put the relationship you have with your team in jeopardy to produce results. The truth is, most of the players on your team want to win anyways, and they understand that winning comes with being pushed to achieve more and perform. When you help your team win, your team will see you as a more credible leader.

Keep building momentum

Never underestimate the “Big Mo,” as it is the ultimate exaggerator. Positive momentum will energize the team and it will feed back into itself to drive even better results. By comparison, negative momentum will eat away at the morale of your team and become a self-fulfilling prophecy of even more negative results. Continue to build energy through your own attitude and drive to produce results from those around you, and that ever-building positive momentum has the potential to solve 80% of any challenges faced by your team.

Just remember, whether it’s disconcerting or not, somebody is always watching you. You can control what they see, and the lessons they learn from what they witness can be worth a thousand words.