I am convinced that those things we truly believe are played out in our lives on a regular basis, and the things we claim to believe are nothing more than lip service we give to feel better about ourselves or friends to impress them. Unless that is, our actions support what we claim to believe.
For instance, I firmly believe that if I don’t stop at the end of my street, I will plow into the brick building across the intersection. I believe it so much, that not one single time have I refused to stop at the end of my street. As a result of my belief and my resulting actions, I have never hit that brick building.
I accept that my thoughts, words, and deeds are a direct result of what I believe.
My beliefs feed my actions and omissions, and, as a leader, have an effect on the people who follow me.
As a result, two important principles are important for leaders to consider about their beliefs:
First, we WILL demonstrate our beliefs even if we try avoiding it.
Often we will discover that our actions tell on us more than our words do. Leaders will lead the way they believe is most useful, even if they don’t concisely realize it.
I’ve known many leaders who try hard to come across as a coach or mentor, but when chaos ensues, or they are under pressure to get something done, they employ a fear-based or command style of leadership. Sometimes a command style of leadership is necessary, but the point here is that no matter what face you put on your leadership style and approach, your beliefs will cause your actions and omissions to tell on you.
If you want to change the way you think, speak, and behave, then you’ll have to modify the way you believe.
Second, your beliefs aren’t necessarily what others believe.
I know in our bi-partisan, homogenous society that it’s hard to believe we all don’t believe the same things, but it’s true. Your beliefs about morals, religion, laws, and relationships are going to be different from those around you. Your leaders will have different beliefs, and your followers will have different beliefs. Go ahead and expect it.
Different doesn’t mean disaster. Sure, it might make it harder to gain traction on certain ideas or require you to spend a few minutes explaining the basis for something, but embrace different because it isn’t going anywhere.
Take a moment to evaluate your actions. What do they say about what you truly believe? If you never communicated to your staff how much value you placed in them, what do your actions toward them communicate about their value? What do your actions say about how much you recognize their contribution?
Your actions tell us what you believe, and those beliefs have consequences.