However much we like to think that we can train ourselves to be perfect leaders, the truth is that we're all fallible. I think we all review the day we've just had as either a good one or a bad one in terms of the impact we've had on those around us. But this suggests that our impact on others is binary in any fixed period of time. Good phone call. Bad phone call. Good meeting. Bad meeting. But I would like to suggest that in that period of time the person we're engaging with has experienced a whole series of reactions based on our 'performance'. I think of these as 'emotional micro-transactions'. And those reactions can range from positive to negative and everything in between.
What really matters is that in the final analysis, we end that interaction with more positive than negative micro-transactions in the bag. And if you extrapolate that momentary interaction up to a day, a week, a month or even a year, you start to develop a sense of where your leadership brand 'equity' is being traded. And that is exactly how I see it. A stock that's being traded during 'market hours' and you could also argue that in this 'always on' digitally connected world we continue to trade our leadership brand equity right up to the point where we go to sleep at night.
The reason I like encouraging others to think like this is that it allows us to understand that 'every' micro-transaction we have with others during the day has an impact on how we are perceived as leaders. It's not just the big set piece moments like the company town hall, or the major presentation to a client or representing the agency in a competitive pitch. It's how you walk into the office in the morning, how you greet colleagues, how you answer the phone, how you carry yourself as you walk across the floor to grab coffee. So you knock it out the park in a client meeting and your stock shoots up, but ignore a colleague on the way out of the room and that gain from moments ago is already being watered down. And because we often don't think about how we are being perceived in our 'down' moments we either do damage to our stock value without realizing it or we fail to capitalize on the gains we have just made.
Here's a practical example of capitalizing on your gains. You host a morning 'update' meeting with your office/team and do a fantastic job of updating everyone on all the progress that is being made in the business. Your leadership equity is rising. You then take a few additional moments at the end of the meeting to make small talk with some individuals you might not normally spend much time with during the day to double check that they had all the information they needed, or to answer any specific questions they might have. Your stock takes another positive jump. Consolidated positive impact.
So this is an exercise in keeping the notion of the value of your leadership equity front of mind at all times. Rather than participate in a passive, retrospective assessment as to whether today was a good day or a bad day in terms of the impact you've had on others, start to manage it proactively, strategically seeking out opportunities to drive value into your brand. And also recognize that it's a long game. The value of your brand will go up and down thousands of time a year, but what's important is that it continues to creep up on a quarterly basis!
So let's talk about tomorrow. There will undoubtedly be a set moment in your calendar for you to show up as the leader, now think about what you can tag onto the back of that engagement to create consolidated positive impact on your leadership brand.
Best of luck for a good day's trading!