A few years ago, I heard an executive vice president from a highly respected international corporation speak about leadership. He told us that the biggest responsibility of a leader is “to behave.” I loved hearing that! It transported me back more than two decades, to when as a senior in my capstone course on community service, my favorite professor admonished us to remember that we are “public people” and therefore we must behave.
What’s the deal with behaving? Why would both a professor of social services as well as a renowned business leader find it important enough to highlight behaving to their audiences? With the exception of this blogger, these men are worlds apart in influence and experience. Still, each seized upon behaving as an important leadership concept.
Behavior is what another observes. All my life, I have heard that it really doesn’t matter what you say, it is what you do that people remember. From the old fashioned needlepoint sampler: Actions speak louder than words, to the present day jargon around walk your talk, behavior has always been what has mattered! Even so, I don’t think these two men were simply talking about how to appear.  It would be simplistic (and wrong) to say: “don’t be seen doing something bad.”
For me, the message each imparted was deeper. Whether dealing with hundreds of thousands of employees, or a caseload of social services clientele, each man was speaking about the leader in leadership. Their shared message was about leadership integrity. Life, frankly, is much easier when one “behaves” on purpose and in congruence with one’s values.
So, I ask you:
• Do you behave in the ways you choose?
• Have you ever behaved in ways that surprise you?
• What is the cost?
• What are you willing to do to address this?

3 thoughts on “Behaving

  1. A person’s behavior can say so much more over the spoken words. Many times I question myself what is behind that person’s behavior or even my own behaviors. As we know, individuals’ behaviors may change based on the situation, which may or may not align with their values. I want to believe the majority of people behave based on their values regardless of the situation.

    Enjoyed reading your post!

  2. Your behavior reflects your values. Values need to be stated. Values also need a lifestyle that validates them. Setting high values, stating them, and having a trusted friend close to you to partner in keeping your values intact does make a difference. @tlpinspw

  3. I agree with Mark Persall that “Your behaviour reflects your values.” In my perspective one should behave rightly even after you end-up your dealings/relation with someone.

    And a special thanks for this nice blog.

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