Another one of the 108 strategies from Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

In the last blog we talked about how Norma’s manager didn’t see her for who she was today, she was a victim of “Snapshot Management.” This blog explores being under the spotlight and how she can publicize her changes.

Leaders are under the Spotlight 24/7

Communication is important to all of us, but as a leader you are under the spotlight by your direct reports and the organization all the time, 24/7. Like Santa Claus, the organization sees when you are good and when you are bad. Almost all leaders I have dealt with don’t realize this to the extent that it happens. Therefore, most leaders have underestimated their influence on others and consequently they have under performed as have their teams. Most leaders are more concerned with getting their job and tasks done rather than how they are perceived by others.

Spotlight on her Communication?

Below are some of the basic premises for Norma to become aware of the spotlight she was under and that made her changes such a challenging endeavor:

  • You are always communicating, even if you are not saying anything.
  • Everything you say or do counts. There are no second attempts, editing, or deleting of what you say or do.
  • When your words leave your mouth, you have not control over how they are going to be interpreted.
  • Listeners are constantly constructing or “story making.” That means they are always interpreting what you say or do.
  • Your words or actions are transformed or reorganized to fit into the listener’s personal story, snapshot or preconceived idea of you and/or similar situations.
  • There will be more than one story. Each listener will create his or her own.
  • The story that is created from your communication or actions determines the meaning, not what you actually say or do.
  • It is the story or the snapshot of you, not what you say or do that will be remembered, passed on, and communicated to others.

Given these premises, the likely outcome of your communication or actions is that you will be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and therefore you need to be very clear, deliberate, and focused in your communication and behavior.

Publicizing her Changes:

  1. I encouraged Norma to tell her team, co-workers and her boss what she was working on.
  2. Give them bi-weekly or monthly updates on her progress and how she is doing it. “I was about to get all over Jim for making a mistake and forcing me to work extra to correct it, but instead, I took a walk, spent a little time with Beth and came back with a new perspective that he wasn’t doing anything to me or against me.” The more she reported her progress appropriately, the more her co-workers and boss got snapshots they would not have had.
  3. Talk with her boss on how he can appropriately give voice to others and publicize what she was trying and accomplishing. It would be easier for him to publicize the changes than Norma.
  4. I got Norma’s permission to do periodic progress reports with her boss to add additional positive snapshots to her collage.

To be less on automatic and more aware and emotionally intelligent so you can be in charge of your life and contributions, see out site resources at www.truenorthleadership.com.