Leading By Example

This topic is one that everyone can agree that leading by example is a must do for anyone that wants to lead successfully. Go out to Google and search on Lead by example – over 11.6 million links. Why is it, that many leaders don’t do it? Is it easier said than done? Afraid to really look in the mirror? Ever just sit back and observe those that you really think lead well and lead by example?

Over the past 28 years, I have been a student of leadership. I observe those that do it well, do somethings well and those that just don’t. From my simple observations, I have developed of list of those items that should be done in order to effectively lead by example.

  • The path that we walk, should be our path. Basically, we all have a core sense of values and follow them. A leader must follow his/her core values. Walking on a different path is not natural and everyone can see what that. Walk your path.
  • Balance is key, health and productivity can work together. Today it is much easier to be connected and work from anywhere. What is the cost? If you employee’s see you working late every night, on vacation and during the weekends. 2 things are for sure – you don’t have balance and you are putting the expectation on your employee’s that they must do the same.
  • Treat others as you want to be treated. I know we all have learned this growing up! Those leaders I have truly enjoyed following did this everyday. We are people first, resources second. If there is one single item that I feel is critical this is the one. Nothing makes me run to the hills when a leader treats others badly in words or actions.
  • Don’t wait on solutions, create them. Never sit around waiting for something to happen, go out and make something happen. For me, I have never seen a passive leader that has been the slight bit successful.
  • Negativity just kills. What more needs to be said than that!
  • Listening is the first real step in effective communications. Asking sharp and good questions, while listening to the answer – makes the leader stronger. Ever have those leaders that cut you off mid sentence? How about the meetings where the leader is the only one talking. Not good. I prefer the sponge approach; listen, watch and develop my wisdom. Then part said wisdom, if necessary.
  • Think in third alternative. There is always two sides, let’s go out and find the third side. Somewhere in spending time in there – a better solution could be formed and developed. To use an example, you have two employee’s that have an idea on how to do something better. Each are good. Picking just one could slight one or the other employee. Is there a third alternative? Maybe that is the best one.
  • Laughter is the best medicine. I don’t care what people say on this one. If you can not laugh at work – than you are going to have a very dull day. Laughing is human. I know when I laugh, I feel good. A true leader makes people laugh, either by laughing at themselves, making light of a tense situation or just having fun.

There probably are more. I find these to be the one’s that I make sure that I focus myself on insuring I continue to live up to. What about you?

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