A universal truth of change management is that leaders must model the new behaviours they ask for before their team members will adopt them. Leaders define organizational cultures through their actions, inspiring people to think “If she can do it so can I.” If they don’t, however, little will change for the better and some behaviours may change for the worse.
I witnessed this leadership dynamic when I discussed Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, with a friend. He said that Daniel Craig’s high level of fitness had inspired him to increase the intensity of his workouts (he’s already a rock) and that he downloaded Daniel’s Skyfall workout regimen to incorporate into his.
It had a similar effect on me. Although I hadn’t thought of downloading his plan, I did add a few exercises to my morning routine, calling it ‘Project Skyfall’ (hey, whatever works). When I did search for the Bond workout, I was surprised at how many sites came up – we were not alone.
Leaders, both at work and in the movies, have huge influence on how people behave. What they do (versus what they say) encourages others to take on mindsets and behaviours that may be new, uncomfortable and difficult to master.
Leaders who share their challenges adopting behaviours are more inspirational than the ones who do so with ease. James Bond’s struggle to get back into shape intensified my “If he can do it so can I” conviction. My additional exercises won’t give me Daniel Craig’s fitness level, but it will change it for the better, and changing for the better is what counts.