What does this mean? It means that every time you as a leader have an interaction with someone, whether an employee, waiter in a restaurant, neighbor at a sporting event, or any other place where you go, people are watching and listening and judging. It doesn’t matter that you are off duty and on your own time, people are still watching. Because of your leadership position, everything you do is subject to scrutiny, and any misstep will be noticed. It’s a huge responsibility and can be overwhelming, but it is something we must accept when we become leaders. No longer can we do or say anything we want and have it ignored. For example, comments that you make, possibly in jest or as just a suggestion, will be taken as a request for action. Casual comments can cause employees to undertake large work projects because they took it to be an assignment.
So be aware—know that everything you do is being watched, and that any behavior you demonstrate is considered to be acceptable for others as well. It’s a heavy responsibility, but an opportunity as well. If you’re up to the challenge, you can take every opportunity to be the positive example, to model the behavior, language, and action you wish to see in others.