This week in our Leadership Roundtable sessions we are reviewing the importance of a leader embodying the values of the organization. We most often focus on the specific behaviors of the leader and how by modeling the values of the organization themselves, the culture comes alive.

One of the participants in our session this week, who is a graduate of the US Naval Academy shared one of the best lessons that he learned while in the Navy. He was on a submarine out in the middle of the ocean when he ended up with some one on one time with the ship’s captain. The captain shared the following: “As a leader: What happens in your presence, becomes the rule of your command”.

This is absolutely profound, as it relates to this important principle of embodying the values. The premise is this: not only is it important for you as leader to directly illustrate how values should be carried out in the organization, but equally as important you cannot allow behaviors by anyone that don’t align with the values to be tolerated.

As a leader have you ever had an employee that is a high performer from a performance standpoint, but is a poor teammate due to their poor values and behaviors? Do you deal directly with the behaviors issues or do you turn a blind eye due to the performance that the employee is delivering?

Allowing poor behaviors, which are not in alignment with the values of the organization, to go unchecked sends the message that these behaviors must really be OK. It becomes the “Rule of your Command”. I’m sure many people wish that Joe Paterno at Penn State would have understood this concept. The Penn State situation is a dramatic example of what can happen when poor behaviors go unchecked by the leader.

As a leader it is tough enough to know that you are always on stage, and people are watching your every move, but it is just as important to know that people are watching what you are allowing within the organization. A servant leader understands that culture enables everything and will work diligently not only on their own behaviors, but also on what is allowed to take place throughout the organization.

What are people seeing as your current “Rule of Command”?