You’re watching a video of a vendor pitching their latest product, but the audio is about a half second behind the video. You’re slightly put off by the misalignment, but you can handle it.
It’s kind of like watching a poorly dubbed kung fu movie from the 70s, but not nearly as entertaining. But as it continues, it becomes super annoying to watch and listen to because the timing is so far off, and quite frankly, you’re losing interest in what they are selling.
After about 53 seconds you decide to turn it off and do something else. Why?
There are two main reasons you tune out.
- The aforementioned annoyance of the sound not aligning with the action.
- You’re not sure if these people can be trusted.
So, what does this have to do with you as a leader? You’re not making out-of-sync video pitches. You’re not even trying to sell a product.
But you are.
You see, as a leader, people are watching you all the time. Every move you make. Every step you take. They are watching you. (Thanks for the inspiration, Sting.)
And when your actions don’t align with your words, aka your audio and video are out of sync, people become confused, because they are not sure which part of the video they are supposed to follow – the words or the actions?
“Do I follow the words my boss is telling me?” Or “Do I follow the actions I see every day?”
And once confusion sets in, they begin to wonder if you are being truthful, if you can be counted on, and if you really have their best interest at heart.
Before long, they start making their own decisions about culture, policy, and accountability. At this point, you’ve lost their trust completely.
So how do you get it back? As with most things in leadership, it won’t be easy.
You’re going to have to do the hard work of realigning your video to your audio output. You have to go back to (or begin to) walk your talk and practice what you preach if you want to have any credibility with your team.
So, where do you start?
Roll back the tape and review what you’ve been doing as a leader, as a human, as an example to others. And check for alignment.
Do your actions align with stated policies?
Do your actions align with your core values?
Do your actions align with what you say you will do?
If you find that you are out of alignment, determine what needs adjusting and get on it.
To help you get there, let me suggest three stages to build trust and four stages to rebuild trust.
- Set Expectations
- Be Consistent
- Lead with Integrity
First, Apologize: If you’ve burned your bridges. If you’ve derailed the trust train. If you’ve been living in that badly dubbed kung fu movie from the 70s, you need to apologize. First to yourself and then to your team. Apologize to yourself for not keeping true and not being the best person you can be. Then show your team that you realize you’ve let them down and you can do better.
Next, Set Expectations: Again, set them for yourself and for your team. Determine what you are willing to do and meet those expectations yourself. Then express to your team what they can expect of you and what you expect of them. Creating this open and honest line of communication is a linchpin for building trust.
Once Expectations are set, Be Consistent: Commit to being continuously reliable. Consistency is the key to improved competence, increased confidence, and workplace harmony.
And finally, decide to Lead with Integrity: This part should be a lot easier once you’ve committed to leading by consistently meeting your stated expectations. Leading with integrity is the crux to building lasting trust.
So how will you decide to get your audio and video back in sync? How will you decide to build or rebuild trust between and among teams and individuals? And how will you decide to lead with integrity so trust continues to grow and remain sustainable?
Get back in the studio and start editing your leadership pitch. Review your past words and actions, and be sure they align with company policies, your core values, and what you say you are going to do. That is leading with integrity. With it, nothing else matters, and without it, nothing else matters.
Your Mindful Moment:
If your leadership audio and video are out of sync, your company culture will be out of sync.Tweet