If you are not willing to be accountable for holding people accountable, then you will not have a culture of accountability. Your lack of accountability becomes their lack of accountability.
If you are not client-focused, your people will follow your lead. If you don’t eat, sleep, and breath clients, neither will the people you need to take care of them. Your opinion about clients will become their opinion.
If you believe that your company only exists to create shareholder value, then your people will not believe that they are doing purposeful, meaningful work that makes a difference. Your focus will sap your people of their desire to give you their very best.
If you ignore or avoid new ideas that conflict with your view of your business and your models, you will kill the initiative and resourcefulness that spurs the ideas that turn into innovation. This shutting down of ideas leads to stagnation, irrelevance, and eventually, the dust heap.
If you are pessimistic, cynical, and negative, that infection will spread so deep into your company that you will have an easier time shutting the company down and starting over than changing the culture that you created—or allowed. This is the only cancer that spreads by contact.
If you believe that external events and circumstances dictate your future, your people will believe too that their future is determined by the hands of fate. Without meaning to, you can disempower your people, and you can prevent them from being their very best.
Your people are going to, by and large, become a reflection of your leadership. Your beliefs become their beliefs, your actions theirs. You are building them in your image, and that means that it is worth stopping to take a look at what kind of people—and company—you are building.
If you want to see change, you have to go first.
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