When You Lead There Is No Such Thing As A Trivial Act

The title of this post came from a summary of a talk by Pat Murray.

As a leader, people watch every single act.  If you are in a bad mood and act out of that bad mood, people think that is who you are.  Words are generally ignored, we watch what you allow to happen.

As parents this is even more difficult.  If you say “do this and you will not get dessert” and then give them dessert anyway (because you are tired and do not want the fight) you have taught the children a lesson:  Your rules are flexible and negotiable.  It is hard to trust someone whose rules are flexible and negotiable.

You Stand For What You Tolerate

“The worst use of power is no use of power”

What do you know that is “wrong” but tolerate?  What behaviours annoy you, but you don’t address them?  If somebody arrives 4 minutes late to a meeting, are they allowed to attend?  If somebody sends the report an hour later than agreed, are they sanctioned?

If you allow bad behaviour this is who you are.  Words are cheap.  What you allow is real.

What are your intolerables?  What are the behaviours that you absolutely will not sanction?  If you are not clear on this list, then you will allow bad behaviours to creep in to your culture.  I learnt one clear lesson during the Organisation Behaviour module of my own MBA: “The worst use of power is no use of power”.

It is really painful to confront another person on their behaviour.  It is a lot more painful to be the passive creator of a slowly sickening culture of performance.

8 responses to “When You Lead There Is No Such Thing As A Trivial Act”

  1. […] From Conor Neill’s article When you lead there is no such thing as a trivial act: […]

  2. Dr. Phil McGraw says, “we teach people how to treat us”.


    1. So true! Words count for little, what we allow counts for lots.

  3. Olivia Schofield Avatar
    Olivia Schofield

    You peaked my interest, hence I’m intrigued to know the back story. Reading the mail back, in my haste, i hope it didn’t sound like a criticism. adoringly Livvy

    Olivia Schofield Speaker, Trainer European Champion of Public Speaking Top Woman Speaker World Championship of Public Speaking 2011 olivia@oliviaschofield.com http://www.oliviaschofield.com Skype: OliviaBerlin1 office: +49 30 2101 8588 Cell: +49 176 2727 7211


    1. I like opinions, and those that can have strong opinions! What you say is true… what triggered me to post that blog? You’ll have to ask me in person 😉

  4. I believe that a good behaviour or education is obtained through showing/demonstrating it. I mean, in case of a leader or parent, you can’t claim for punctuality if you are often late. In other words, if you want to get good results, focus on your own behaviour first!
    Thank you Connor for all your enlightening activity. : )

    All the best,

    1. As they say on the airplanes… “put your own mask on first” 😉

  5. Olivia Schofield Avatar
    Olivia Schofield

    Just read your new post. Liked it. Missed something. The story. What happened to you, how did you behave to learn that lesson. I want the hero to fall. Will you tolerate me telling you? Much love livvy

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