People Do What People See

posted by Darren Mitchell March 18, 2020 0 comments

So far 2020 has been an intriguing year, to say the least. In the space of 2 months, in Australia, we have gone from seeing the best of humanity in our collective response to the bushfire crisis, to most recently, unfortunately seeing the worst of humanity in the collective pillaging of essential supplies at supermarkets across the country. The fear and panic that is permeating throughout society right now is real, and it seems to be fed by people’s actions, through posts on social media, as well as numerous reports in the media – a media that has a history of creating headlines in order to grab peoples attention. Whilst we are in the midst of very uncertain times, where people are afraid and acting accordingly, these times also present us with opportunities. These opportunities can be very difficult to identify through the lens of fear and anxiety, however, there are opportunities. And as leaders, we have a critically important function to perform in not only seeking out opportunities for ourselves, but helping others identify opportunities as well.

Something I say constantly is that people are listening to everything you say and watching everything you do. They are also listening for what you are not saying and watching what you are not doing. Especially today. Here is the thing – people do what people see. This is why we are seeing panic buying and stockpiling behaviours by shoppers in supermarkets, resulting in supermarket chains having to introduce unprecedented rules and limits on customers and purchases. And there is actually no logical need for stockpiling. There is more than enough supplies in Australia for everyone to be able to obtain what they require – but as people see others stockpile items, their natural response is to do the same, which then exponentially multiplies.

Today, more than ever, our leaders need to stand up and lead. And I’m not just talking about our national leaders of government and business. I’m talking about all leaders, whether you are leading a sporting team, a sales team, a not for profit, a family, or in fact, if you are simply leading yourself. We all have the opportunity, or dare I say it, the critical obligation, to lead and demonstrate the behaviours that will change the tide and get us moving in a more positive and selfless direction.

Here are some thoughts on what we as leaders can be doing right now:

  1. Role Model – as a leader, we must be consciously aware of our behaviour all of the time. I often say to leaders that we are ‘always on’ – there is never really an off switch. By this I mean we need to be always demonstrating the behaviours we belief in and espouse, because we are always being observed. And as soon as we begin demonstrating a behaviour that is inconsistent with our message, our credibility reduces, which leads to a diminishing of trust. Remember, people do what people see. Are you right now, role modelling the behaviours that are consistent with your beliefs, in everything you do? If not, stop, reset, reload, and move forward.
  2. Look for opportunities – today, more than ever, people are looking to leaders for direction, for ideas, for certainty. It has often been said that the best leaders have the unshakeable capacity to be certain in uncertain times. Now this does not suggest that the leader is eternally and unrealistically optimistic in the face of adversity, or that they ignore the challenge or minimise it. What they do exceptionally well is, considering the current facts, they are able to search for and identify opportunities, because they know they are there. And this level of certainty in spite of the challenges, can increase people’s confidence and approach. What opportunities can you identify today, because they are there.
  3. Don’t buy into the herd mentality – Human nature can easily lead us to follow the herd, especially based on what we are seeing splashed across our screens right now in relation to peoples behaviour. We need to take our health and the health of our families and the community very seriously and follow the protocols that have been outlined. However, as leaders, we must stand up and start moving in a different direction in terms of behaviour. As clichéd as it sounds, we need to be ‘zigging whilst everyone else is zagging’. What does this mean in a practical sense? Well, fundamentally, it is about demonstrating a higher level of self awareness and selflessness to shift the dial from the extraordinary levels of selfishness we are seeing right now. Look for opportunities to serve others. Reach out to people to check in on them, allow someone at the supermarket to pick up the last tray of mince, and be courteous and friendly. If more leaders did this, we would rapidly shift the dial.
  4. Be conscious of language – great leaders have an amazing gift of being able to effectively communicate, whether is be in the written form, or through verbal communication. How has your language been lately? Have you found yourself using highly expressive pessimistic adjectives like we are seeing in the media, or have you been very measured? Our responsibility as leaders is to create environments where people feel safe and certain, and hence our language needs to reflect that. This is not about minimising the current situation – it is about being very intentional on our messaging, and the specific language we use in that messaging. Ensure that the language you are using with your team is engaging, practical and grounded. This will only enhance your credibility and the level of confidence your team has in you.
  5. Be grateful – in very difficult times, we can easily lose sight of what we currently have because our focus is often on the external and what we don’t have, or what we may lose. Remember this, one of the greatest gifts we all have as humans is the gift to choose. Which means, in every situation we find ourselves in, we have the ability to choose our response. Be grateful for that, be intentional with that, and take time to adequately review the situation before deciding on a course of action. It is in times like now that we must increase our gratitude meter more than ever. Really focus in on what you are & can be grateful for, because this will have an immediate positive impact on your mindset & your physiology, and hence will be readily observable by others. This increases the likelihood of others increasing their gratitude meter as well.

Whilst we are all facing a very uncertain time, we have a tremendous opportunity as leaders to create a lasting impact on not only ourselves but the people around us, through our actions and behaviours that we demonstrate. Remember, people do what people see, and if we can have more leaders demonstrating effective and constructive behaviours, the stronger we can all be.

To your continued sales leadership success.


P.s. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your Sales Leadership capabilities.

  1. Connect with me here on LinkedIn and let’s start the sales leadership conversation. Click here to connect.
  2. Download a copy of the ‘Exceptional Sales Culture Checklist’ and take the test. Click on this link to download a copy
  3. Work with me privately. If you’d like to work directly with me to become the exceptional sales leader in your field & drive sustainable results….just send me a message and put ‘Private’ in the first line….tell me a little about your role and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details.

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