Your Leadership Walk

by  Guest Author  |  Leadership Development

We are all on a walk.

It is the journey we take each day as a leader.

We move through our day, going from one task to the next, one meeting to the next, one problem to the next. We have conversations and interactions; some small, seemingly inconsequential others lengthy and potentially memorable. Each of these is part of your leadership walk.

You may not think of your leadership journey as a walk. Most would call it work. So to be clear, the walk is “the stuff” of our day; it’s the items on your to-do list seen in a slightly different way.

You may have never thought of it as a walk, but that is how others see it.

What do I mean?

You’ve heard the phrase: people want to see leaders who will walk their talk. The most effective leaders have the best “talk”; a great vision, values, wonderful approaches and plans, and people see talk as more than just words – they see the walk. In fact your talk matters little, in comparison to your walk. The reality is, they watch and pay much more attention to your feet, than your lips.

It is your walk that matters.

As leaders whether you realize it or not, you are on a walk that others are observing in small and large ways every step and every day.

You might think of the walk as role modeling behavior, but those are just fancy words. It is the walk that people are watching. Every day too – not just on our best days, or the days we feel good, or the days we had a good breakfast, or right after we went to a great training workshop.

Remember, you are always walking and others are always watching.

Here are just some examples for you to consider:

Do you say you care about your people, your organization and your Customers? How does your walk prove it?

Do you say mistakes are important and necessary? How does your walk prove it?

Do you say you believe that your people can develop, grow and have tremendous potential? How does your walk prove it?

Do you say that listening is important? How does your walk prove it?

Do you say you are a learner? How does your walk prove it?

In the end, we are leaders only if others choose to follow. Make sure your walk is heading to a great place; a place worthy of being followed to. And know that if you tend daily to your walk, the chance of others joining you on your leadership walk is much higher.

Ultimately it is your walk that matters.

Make sure you are watching your steps.

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What People Are Saying

Tara R. Alemany  |  11 Jul 2011  |  Reply

Great post, Kevin! I first became aware of my walk when I became a parent. Suddenly, it became clear to me that I couldn’t say one thing and do another because my kids would be getting mixed messages. It was only later that I started to see how this same principle applies in any leadership capacity. Being consistent, letting your actions speak louder than words, and listening to what others have to share are all critical to taking a walk that others will want to join in. Thanks for reminding us of that!

Connie McKnight  |  11 Jul 2011  |  Reply

What a beautiful way of describing the leadership journey – the walk. I’ve heard of “walk the talk” and “actions speak louder than words”, but never “the walk”. It’s makes it so clear; something easily visualized.

Your questions were spot on. Something we all need to keep asking ourselves as we continue to improve our leadership skills.


Susan Mazza  |  11 Jul 2011  |  Reply

Great Kevin. Love this line: “Ultimately it is your walk that matters. Make sure you are watching your steps.”

This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect though. In fact a sure sign that you are consistently walking your talk is when you misstep and someone actually points it out. People in leadership positions can sometimes get false signals about how they really are perceived as leaders because it typically takes a lot of courage to tell the truth when a leader does not seem to be walking their talk. Most people aren’t willing to risk it. Unless of course you create an environment in which you invite others to hold you accountable and thank them when they do.

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