Chapter 2

How Much of an Impact Are You Really Having?

Don’t worry for a second about whether or not you are having an impact. You are. The question is whether the impact you are having is the impact that will make you proud years from now. Are you satisfied that you hit the numbers and brought home the profit, or do your values demand that you have greater and more profound impact on your workplace and on the people you influence?

Consider this on a variety of levels: What impact are you having on the values of your people? Do you model the kind of character that would make you a compelling figure to follow? What impact are you having on your direct reports’ emotional states? Are they happy to work for you? Do they feel good about their work? Are they fairly compensated? Do you encourage personal development? To what extent do your followers feel better about who they are because of the way you lead?

If your direct reports are going to talk about you behind your back (and they are) then you had better get busy influencing that gossip. Right now, as you read this sentence, someone who reports to you is out there telling a story about you. That story is about the impact you have on them. While they may tell stories about some cool thing you did or some deal you closed or some speech you gave, your real power comes from how you affect them as individuals. That is what they will talk about the most, and that is what they will remember about you.

Courageous leadership involves developing ...

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