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                Leadership Ripples

                Michelle Sales/23 February 2022
                5 minutes read time

                When we are given the opportunity to lead people we are in a privileged position. Our effect as leaders goes deeply and broadly not just into our organisations but beyond. Think about the people we engage with every day. From the very first person to the very last.

                So often we don’t pause to consider the impact and the ‘ripple effect’ that our behaviour and our leadership has on the people around us and elsewhere. The Cambridge dictionary defines a ‘ripple’ as ‘a small wave or a slight movement of a surface, especially the surface of water’. Likewise, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘ripple effect’ as ‘a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence’.


                ‘Spreading’ – like the ripple on the surface of water all of our acts of leadership and behaviour, either positive or negative, big or small, can impact far and wide. Are you aware of this? Do you reflect on how you are showing up and the potential for the ‘spread’ to have a very positive impact? Or if not thoughtful, the possibility of a negative spread due to your leadership.

                ‘Pervasive’ – like a ripple our organisational culture is pervasive. It extends outside of the company and reaches clients, vendors and partners. It reflects our relationships, our connections, engagement and leadership. For better and worse culture and leadership are inextricably linked. Impactful Leadership shapes a culture through both conscious and unconscious behaviour. How conscious are you of your behaviours as a leader? Are you aware of your leadership impact and ripple as deep and sticky?

                “Usually unintentional’ – mostly we are on autopilot, in the busyness. Focussed on what needs to get done in the day and week, caught up in the doing rather than the being. Occupied with what rather than how we successfully lead. What can you do to become more intentional about the impact and ripple effect you have?


                Regardless of whether they are the people we lead, our colleagues, stakeholders, customers, or who we buy our coffee from, how we show up and how we behave has a ripple effect far beyond what we can ever imagine.

                We really believe that when you show up as your best self, when you pause to reflect on the positive impact you want to be making, the spread and pervasiveness of your actions can go far and wide. When we are intentional and thoughtful about our behaviour and impact the greater the ripple and wake we can leave.

                Here are some actions you can immediately take to reflect on your ripple effect:

                1. Dial up your self-awareness:

                Specifically, start to do this by paying attention and tuning into your state. Try starting the morning with a mindfulness activity that allows you to get a good sense of how your body is really feeling and what you are about to take into the day. Anxiety is one of the most contagious states. To bring more calm, try a body scan activity before you get out of bed in the morning with some deep and mindful breathing. Where do you need to release some tension from? Who are you spending time with during the day and is it helpful or harming to your state?

                2. Strengthen your feedback muscle

                You know the old saying – feedback is a gift. However, the majority of people either do their best to avoid feedback or ask broad questions seeking feedback that is ineffective. Develop a practice of seeking feedback regularly about your impact. Ask for specific feedback based on what you are trying to achieve, the impact you want to be having and the behaviour you may want to be changing. Utilise relationships and people that you trust and know will give you honest feedback and people that are motivated by wanting to see you succeed.

                3. Know your sweet spot

                When we lead with our strengths, we are happier and more confident, we have higher levels of energy, experience less stress and more resilience and are more likely to perform better and feel more engaged. Who doesn’t want that! So be very clear on what you are great at and what gives you energy and how you are leveraging these strengths in how you lead. We use a great strength profiling tool to help leaders understand this so happy to help you too if you are wanting to create greater clarity on this for yourself.


                Michelle Sales/23 February 2022