When you talk about leadership, what are your go to words?

What is your ‘language of leadership’?

In a series of blogs this month, I am exploring how I see leadership and invite you to consider your choice of words and terms which describe your style of leadership.

Using the order of the English alphabet, I will share my selection of words daily and my reasoning for these choices.

letter b.png

Today the letter is B!

B is for behaviour, brand and best. There is no right or wrong in the selection of the words; the goal is to broaden your thinking about your practice of leadership.

Join me in my game, ‘the language of leadership’ and offer your ‘B’ word.

My three B words are:

Behaviour – it’s what we do and say that encapsulates your drive, beliefs, intent and purpose. People look to you and seek consistency in your leadership – how you communicate with people, how you self-motivate and regulate and how you deal with conflict and crisis. For me, the focus on behaviour is critical to moving from a good leader to being a great leader.

Focusing on your behaviour starts with analysing how you see yourself – how you think and feel your behave in a variety of situations. Secondly, it’s about auditing your analysis, by being more self-aware – is what you think, a reality? And, how satisfied are you – what changes would you like to see in the outcome of the way you behave? Maybe you need to dial it up more or dial it down.

Finally, ask for feedback about your behaviour. Ask specific questions about what you want to address and ask more broadly to capture what’s not obvious to you. For example, is there something I do which annoys the team, that possibly contradicts what I ask and expect of you/them?

You need to build your brand.

You need to build your brand.

Brand – when colleagues, the chiefs and your crew describe you, what do they say? When you’ve left the office, how do they describe your membership of the business and team. Curating your leadership brand is a strategy you can implement and possibly control if your reputation is important to you and your company.

To get you started, consider key descriptions of your style of leadership. Record these and be alert to when they show up. And, what are the situations which you live out these descriptions? If you are confident, then openly express that this is your brand. Talk yourself up and ensure you deliver.

Best – I’m a woman from the ‘80’s and we were always looking out for the best practice in service, design and delivery. My focus hasn’t changed – I am always wanting to improve my game and to update my knowledge of my leadership profession.

We also talk about ‘bringing your best self’ which is simply a pause and reflect action to clear your head and consider the voice in your head (who’s driving your bus today) and how you’re planning on behaving in your various roles. You do have a choice.

I’ve only heard myself say, they bring the worst out in me, a few times in my life and I know I’ve lost control and almost given up! What I prefer to hear is, ‘they bring the best out in me’. Find the people who help you be your best – they are the companions you want for life.

What’s your B word contribution? I’d love to hear your point of view.

And of course, tomorrow is the letter C. Join me and play the game ‘’The Language of Leadership’’.



If ‘leader’ or ‘leadership’ is associated with your role in business or community then I recommend you take this crash course in Ethical Leadership.

Author, Dennis Gentilin and his research assistant Vanessa Kirby have digested every possible finding, study and research relating to ethics; analysed it rigorously and regurgitated into useful supportive information which reinforces the most important message of this book: how powerful your choice of behaviour impacts the sustainability of an ethical organisation.

If you’re accountable for organisational culture and curious if you are supporting or sabotaging this culture, then this is one hell of a read; it guarantees to confirm your thoughts and suspicions.


Leaders lost their roles in this building.

Gentilin was the courageous foreign exchange trading scandal ‘whistle-blower” at the National Australia Bank (NAB) in January 2004 which uncovered $360 million of unauthorised currency transactions resulting in the company being on the front cover of most Australian tabloids for 100 days, reporting on senior leadership sackings; dragging the NAB from its powerful company position status.

Whilst working in NAB’s Risk division at this time, I witness followers (staff) questioning their relationship with the company. We spent many months ensuring we retained our talented team whilst reviewing how authentic we were living our company values. (I now realise we were examining our ethics.)

Gentilin politely identifies what went wrong at the NAB. He summaries and describes how management behaved badly and has turned this failure into a book of lessons for leaders; applicable to all sectors and industries, not limited to those in financial services.

Four lessons resinated with me:

This is a must read for leaders.

Power: how you shape systems and create context - where your choice of actions and decisions are either supporting or sabotaging your personal and business values

Self Esteem: how the role of your ego, how you evaluate your own worth and importance, your capability to opt on and off the ‘flow of success’ have a consequence far greater than your fear of losing face

Moral compass: how your ethical vernacular is heard and how you apply it in your decision making – is it a business decision or an ethical decision – what is guiding you?

Diversity: how recruiting similar powerful attributes in teams, will deindividulise, submerging and transforming peoples’ morals and thinking

To commence your personal ethical examination, consider how you would answer these questions:

·        Is your business an incubator for ethical failures?

·        Do you represent and live the values of your business, 100% of the time?

·        What is your moral compass telling you?

·        Are you a ‘first class noticer’?

·        Do you reward ethical champions?

·        What signals do your behaviours send to others?

·        Are the choices you make aligned with your values?

·        In a business dilemma, is ethics in your vernacular?

·         Are ethics evident when you make decisions?

·        Does your business have a Chief Ethics Officer?


How did you go answering these questions? If you were able to answer these quickly, I suggest you didn’t take enough time. As Gretilin suggests, you need to take your time to reflect, to make ethical decisions.

Connect with me if you’re enjoying what you’re reading and learning. I am a specialist in Leadership Development and Performance and spend my days turning managers into leaders.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

All eyes are on you

Our society is becoming increasingly under video surveillance; we have cameras on all city corners, YouTube is the most watched global channel which is made up of 'home made videos' and our life is being captured on on all forms of social media and devices 24/7. 

Our life is one long play button!

Our life is one long play button!

So, it's disappointing when you observe a leader in action and they are sending all the wrong messages ... even before they open their mouth!

We have devices in our hands (almost attached) which provide the functionality to record these behaviours - whether that be action or sound. However, we don't proactively catch ourselves, let alone ask others to assist in collecting data for a factual conversation.

I was providing feedback to a client recently about the benefit of their need to show some emotion when they're experiencing conflict. Bottling it inside doesn't aid their health and keeping a poker face doesn't allow others to understand their thoughts and feelings about the change.

We have never been so visible - we are 'on stage' in a leadership position. ALL EYES ARE ON YOU - whether that's from admiration, respect or waiting for you to slip up.

Rolling your eyes, taking calls in the middle of a meeting, being sarcastic, making derogatory comments about team mates/colleagues/clients/managers and making deflective comments (which my 8 year old would use - " they made me do it") are totally unacceptable.

If this has touched a nerve, do yourself and in particular, your people a favor - ask for feedback from someone who will be honest or use the video app on your device to capture your body language - there really are no excuses in today's tech savvy world.

You are accountable for your leadership performance and it's possible to make small changes which will make dramatic changes to your business and importantly the people you influence.