Take Action: Don’t Talk About it Be About it

A pink neon sign of the words don't just exist

Words are cheap, actions speak louder

Many leaders, especially new leaders, put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into talking about what they will do. The English language dictionary is filled with thousands of words that can be used to talk about what you will do.

However, so many leaders forget an idiom most of us learn when we are young, actions speak louder than words. If they spent even half of their time executing on the things they talk about, they would be amazing leaders.

It is easy to fall into the trap as a leader of spending a lot of time talking about things you and/or your team will do. If in fact the “talking” is due to productive activities like planning, organizing or coaching then they are worthwhile pursuits.

However, there is a huge difference between effective planning sessions and analysis paralysis. There is an even bigger difference between organizing/coaching and micromanaging. How we choose to spend our time as leaders and what actions we take, can be a crucial factor in the level of success we enjoy. We must always remember that actions speak louder than words.

Leadership is an action, not a position. – Donald McGannon

Leaders must be about actions not words

Some leaders view leadership as an arrival point on an adventure and not the adventure itself. These leaders tend to be very passive upon getting the title and rely on their formal authority to get respect and results. They often lack the actions and proactive tendencies needed to succeed and instead live in a reactionary world that they think revolves around them.

These leaders often spend a lot of time talking about the actions that happen around them rather than the actions they themselves are taking. They aren’t actually impacting anything themselves but rather simply existing in the same space as these actions.

As the quote above demonstrates, leadership is a verb and leaders cannot simply exist without the actions to back up the words. The difference between successful leaders and unsuccessful ones is that the former ensures that their actions speak louder. Not just any actions either but the right kinds of actions that mean something and have a positive impact.

So, what kinds of actions should leaders be taking?

Actions, not words in pursuit of goals

Depending on the level of the leader, the amount and type of actions needed to achieve their goals will vary. Front line supervisors will require much more tactical (hands on) actions like directly managing results and people. Comparatively, a CEO has a much more strategic (hands off) role where the actions that are needed look very different.

Unfortunately, many misunderstand the distinction between these levels of leaders. The CEO could easily be perceived to b