Musthafa Ebadi
Its Not What You Do But How You Do That Matters!
by Musthafa Ebadi on May 23rd, 2014

As leaders we are not only responsible for our own contribution, performance, & behavior  but also responsible for above attributes of people we lead.

While you can manage contribution and performance using your leadership and management skills coaching or managing behavior can be tricky.
The more senior and experienced people you manage the more difficult it is to control how they behave with your customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

My rule of thumb has been to ingrain in their DNA that its not WHAT we do but HOW we do things that could stimulate or hinder our reputation.

I find it is also  true in our personal lives. If you think about it access to knowledge today is more easily and readily available than ever before. Thanks to Google, Wikipedia, and some internet forums you could get enormous information about anything you want with few clicks.
Although this level of access has many benefits the adverse effect of such access is detrimental to seeking advice or consulting with experts.

Today majority of people think they know everything about anything because volumes and volumes of encyclopedia exits in their back pockets (smartphones). And in many cases they are right!
Ask anyone about capital city of any country and they can tell in 40 seconds and few clicks. Ask them about composition of atom and within few clicks and few seconds they will provide you with an accurate and concise information. Fifteen years ago we had to memorize these things!!!
From fixing our TVs at home to understanding how NASA operates we have this extra ordinary level of information available at our finger tips.

This abundance of knowledge-on-demand has also given us a false sense of security that we know better than anyone else. It has given us a proxy confidence that we know what to do in any situation and don’t need anyone’s help, guidance, or direction. Moreover it has completely discounted the value of mentors and coaches in our professional and personal lives.

While as a leader you cannot change the above characteristics and pseudo smartness of some of our people we can always teach them about “not WHAT we do but HOW we do” concept.  You cannot control anymore however you can greatly influence!

I deducted this concept from some of the experiences I had to go through over the last 2 years. Slow and steady I have gone through some major events in life; some positive some not so positive, some self inflected some out of my control, some for better some for worse.

As someone who tries to learn from every development in life (positive or negative) after months and months of reflection I realized that “not WHAT we do but HOW we do” concept is the fine line between right and wrong, between good and evil, between ordinary and class, and between average and great.

Coach and team your people to start thinking more about HOW they do something or express something more than WHAT they do or express something. And if you haven’t start with yourself.

Recall some of the major disagreements you had in your professional life or personal life and try to deduce if it was because of what you said or did, or was it because of how you said it or did it. 

In future posts I will provide some examples of how something that was done had a negative connotations  to it because of how it was done and vice versa. 

Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post.

Thanks for reading!


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