Lead by Example | FOW #21
The best way to influence others is “being the change you want to see.” Bring a calming presence. Help others shine.
How many ways are there to say, “don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk”? We hear it over and over, but like anything else that’s only verbally communicated, it doesn’t quite sink in unless it’s demonstrated.
Beginning in childhood, we look to our parents and other authority figures for examples of how to act, how to be in the world, and how to process information. This came home to me when we told our then-young children they had to wear helmets when skiing, while – as they were quick to point out – we did not.
On the professional side, I consistently hit revenue and profitability goals and was therefore promoted, but was a mediocre manager until I had an outstanding boss. My new group president was not only excellent at her job, but was also inclusive, constantly tried and encouraged new ideas, improved on existing processes, treated everyone as if they were equally outstanding and publicly acknowledged effort as well as achievement. In emulating her, I became a much better manager of my own staff, evidenced by their feedback and their achievements.
As leaders, setting an excellent example is not an option; it is the ONLY way you will see the company behavior necessary to accelerate performance.
Do not assume everyone read the employee handbook and will know exactly what is expected. Your employees are looking to you for direction and inspiration and will model your behavior. If you are consistently late for meetings, you are sending the message that not only is being on time not important, but that you do not value theirs. If you do not commit to actions, then follow through on your commitment, you are sending a powerful message: that follow-through is not valued.
Being the boss does not make you a leader. Defining and exemplifying a positive, growth-oriented culture makes you a leader. Walk the walk.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching” -Mahatma Ghandi
Who taught you, by example, some of your most valuable lessons? Comment below, I would love to hear more.