I am leaving Saturday morning to deliver a TEDx program in Lille, France, at the University of Science and Technology. I am honored and very excited. At the same time, because it is a different culture and country, I wanted to ensure I was respectful of both their culture and customs so I’m reading a book about France and its culture.
What I have realized, whether you are a woman in leadership, a woman in management, a senior leader, or none of the above, there are several things that translate across any culture and are universal. A smile is always appropriate, your tone of voice can welcome or alienate, a person should never try to bulldoze, especially, while being a guest and, “Thank you”, in any language, goes a long way.
Those simple actions may sound like common sense. Yet, as I look back over the past year, these seemingly common courtesies have gotten lost. Political rhetoric, regardless of your party, seems to have declined into mud-slinging and taken the overall reputation of our political system to an all-time low. Simple courtesies: listening, acknowledging, a smile and assuming the best, not the worst, of someone, is lost in the quest for “the win.”
As women in leadership, or anyone who considers themselves a leader, it is our responsibility to model the behavior we want to reinforce to propel the transformation of our corporate cultures to what we envision them to be. While I strongly believe in being your true self, “the win,” while being your true self, needs to also consider the feelings and opposing positions of not only other leaders but other employees, team members, and all associates, as well. Being your true self does not mean it’s okay to steamroll and bully others until you achieve “the win.” What good does it do to be the conductor of the train and the first to the station, if there’s nobody else on board?
Make sure you are guarding your company’s reputation, your own reputation, and the relationships that are so very important to you and your company’s success, wherever business may take you.
“Accelerating Women to be Influential Leaders with Greater Impact” – Barbara Teicher, CSP