What does it mean to walk the talk? Essentially, it means that what you say and what you do have to be aligned. If you’re an employer or manager it’s especially important that you walk the talk, because this is one way of ensuring that your employees do the same!
Problems occur in organisations because those who are leaders insist in the necessity of change and continuous improvement, but they themselves don’t demonstrate the actions they want their employees to follow. People look to their leaders for guidance, in the workplace as in other areas of life, and they model their own behaviour on those who are in charge. Simply, if you want change in your employees, then you must be willing to undertake the same changes. If you don’t, employees won’t follow and you’ll appear to be a hypocrite, which is precisely what a manager or employer wants to avoid.
Like it or not, it’s up to an organisation’s leaders to create the organisation’s environment, culture and values. The most important thing for an employer or manager to do is ensure that their core belief systems are actually congruent with the beliefs and attitudes they espouse to their employees. If they are, it’s a lot easier to model the desired behaviour. If what an employer wants to see implemented isn’t something they truly believe in and feel deeply about, they will find it extremely difficult to get their employees to see its relevance either.
Naturally, the first step in creating organisational change and “walking the talk” is to demonstrate the behaviour that’s desired from all employees. The most powerful motivator in getting employees to do the actions requested of them is for them to see the same actions being modelled by their boss!
If, as a manager or employer, you are trying to implement a procedural change in the company, it’s not enough to simply announce it to all employees and expect them to embrace it if they don’t see the people in charge demonstrating the behaviour. Employees can’t be expected to follow rules when their bosses don’t, and expecting them to do so will only cause resentment.
Some employers and managers spend too much time being the “head” of their team, rather than feeling as if they are an actual part of it. It’s important to demonstrate to employees that the boss understands their work and their role in the organisation. It’s also important for employers to demonstrate the sort of work ethic they wish their employees to possess. A boss who spends two hours at lunch and is frequently seen doing very little productive work won’t inspire hard work and dedication in his or her employees.
Every day, managers and employers should demonstrate their commitment to the goals of the organisation. Doing this reinforces that they believe in the organisation and what it is doing, and this will help employees feel the same way.
Employers and managers who model the values and beliefs of their organisation are those who can expect their employees to do likewise. When those in charge don’t demonstrate the behaviour expected of those they’re in charge of, they’re unlikely to see compliance.