Having The Business Etiquette Of A Leader
I frequently say that your image is much more than the clothing you wear, it’s also about how you carry yourself, how you act and how you communicate. Yesterday I was at the post office mailing cosmetics to clients of mine and noticed something that caught my attention — and not in a good way. I thought I would share it because I think it’s something business leaders should be aware of.
As I stepped out of my car I heard what sounded like a magnified phone conversation and I thought, “well that’s strange to hear in a parking lot”. Then I realized that it was actually coming from a car about 4 cars away. The man in the car looked as if he might be an executive because he was wearing business attire and driving a Porsche SUV. Very quickly it became apparent that the conversation he was having was one that most would consider to be a highly confidential office matter. I was able to hear the conversation so clearly because he was on the phone through his car stereo and it was blasting through his closed windows.
I am sure if this gentleman knew his very private conversation was being heard through most of the Walnut Creek post office parking lot he would not be happy; not only because it was putting his company at risk but also because this certainly didn’t make him appear as a leader with executive presence. He looked the part in a nice suit and beautiful car but his actions spoke a different story. As a leader you need to be aware that people are watching and listening to you all the time. Let’s take a look at 3 tips that could have helped this situation:
- #1. Be mindful of your surrounding all the time. You never know who is listening and/or watching. In this case the fact that I heard the conversation wasn’t as bad as it could have been because I didn’t know who they were talking about, but I do think he would have been embarrassed to know that someone was writing a blog article based on his actions. If you are having a conversation be sure take a look at your surroundings: are you speaking loudly, are you using body language that others may perceive as negative, are you taking the time to listen to the other person in the conversation. If you are having a private conversation make sure you are in private.
- #2. Do not gossip and share personal information about others. The first way to lose credibility is by speaking out of turn about someone in your workplace. Sharing information about a co-worker, or even someone you manage, that is not pertinent to their position or their work makes you look less professional and often makes the other person feel uncomfortable. There is a fine line between sharing information that needs to be shared and over sharing.
- #3. Think before you speak. People make judgments about others very quickly (usually less than 7 seconds). This impression can be long lasting. According to a study at Harvard, it takes 8 subsequent positive encounters to change another’s negative opinion of you. That means from one encounter with you, someone could make a lot of decisions that could impact your career or how you are seen in the organization. My mom told me from the time I was little “if you don’t want to see what you said on the front page of the paper then don’t say it!”
As I exited the post office our friend was getting his package out of the back of his car. He looked very “put together” but because of the small part of the conversation I heard I had quite a different opinion of him. First impressions really do matter; remember to be seen as a leader the first step is to appear, behave and communicate like one at all times.