What do these four scenarios have in common?
1. A manager tells his (her) staff that he has an ‘open-door policy’, then barks at anyone who comes into his office and bothers him.
2. A coworker becomes offended if someone makes a sexist comment about women – but if it’s about men, it’s okay.
3. A prospective employee sends you an email claiming to have great attention to detail – and you find three typos in it.
4. A colleague tells you how important honesty is to him, but calls in “sick” on Friday so he can go golfing.
Each of these scenarios describe a discrepancy between thoughts and actions – between words and deeds. They’re about people who just aren’t ‘walking the talk.’
We’ve all seen this behavior. We all know someone with double standards, or who’s self-perception just doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. It’s an important concept to be aware of, because the failure to walk your talk can have a devastating impact on your success in the workplace. There are few ways to lose people’s respect faster than to demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to live by your own rules. It’s all about integrity.
Do you walk your talk? Here are three questions you should ask yourself on a regular basis:
1. Am I the kind of person I say I am?
2. Do I do the things I say I’m going to do?
3. Would I stand up to the same scrutiny I give others?
Be honest, and don’t be afraid to be a little hard on yourself. If you find that you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, take steps to correct it immediately.