Lead by example.
As humans, we all need to lead or be lead. It’s in our DNA.
Today, there is so much information out there on leadership and what constitutes a good leader. The characteristics that make a leader great are many.
Words like motivational, inspirational, visionary, honest, integrity, influencer, communicator, committed, accountable, decision-maker, creative, innovator, delegator all pop up when you google it.
But to me, the one thing that really stands out for me in a good leader, is one who leads by example.
Albert Einstein, the famous physicist, said it best: “Setting the example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.“
So all those leadership characteristics above fall under the ‘setting the example’ umbrella.
It means people want to follow you for who you are, what you represent and the personal example you set.
Or simply, what we set is what we get.
The saying goes that you cannot ask someone on your team to be someone you are not. If you are not driven to succeed, don’t expect your team to be driven to succeed.
You cannot ask someone on your team to do something that you are not doing. If you are not using social media to generate leads, don’t expect your team to be using social media.
You cannot ask someone on your team to aim for something that you are not aiming for. If you are not aiming for a higher level don’t expect your team members to be aiming for a higher level.
Setting the example is key to leadership.
That is why so many leaders fail, because they don’t lead by example.
We raise our children to follow the rules. But if we ourselves do not follow the rules, what kind of example are we conveying to them. How can we expect them to do something that we are not doing. That is called hypocrisy.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James A. Baldwin, Novelist, Playwright and Activist
It goes for your team as well. You cannot pay lip service to leadership, and then expect your team to do what you want them to do. You want them to imitate you and in our business, it’s called duplication.
Setting the best example for my team is critical.
So I asked myself, “Why would someone want to join my team and follow me? Am I setting the right example? Would I want to even follow me?
These are good questions. They are hard questions, but ones we should always keep asking ourselves, because leadership is not a stagnant characteristic.
“Leadership needs to be developed, nourished and tended to constantly.” – Deborah MacDonald
So be true to yourself. Be the example you would want to be. And be it everyday.
Then and only then, will you be the best leader you can be.
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden, Successful Basketball Coach and Mentor