How much do you learn by watching others? The reality is you learn a lot! It is not uncommon for most of us to model a leader, for example, that we really liked.
Unfortunately what we learn can be good or bad.
Whether you are a parent, coach, teacher, or a manager in business each of us has a responsibility to model positive leadership. You never know who is watching.
The do as I say, not do as I do philosophy won’t work with leaders today. In order to gain trust and inspire others, leaders must show the way by their own actions, not just their words.
There are a number of leaders throughout history who have successfully subscribed to the philosophy of leading by example, not just by word. Mahatma Gandhi is one most of us are familiar with. He spent his life working just as hard, if not harder, at doing what he preached, not just preaching.
As a result of his example, Gandhi has inspired countless individuals to be better; which is the purest definition of leadership.
Here are three ways you can start leading by example today and inspire others.
1. Get your own hands a little dirty. Take the shovel yourself once in a while and dig side by side with your team, especially when there is a pile up of work.
Doing so will not only tell those you follow that you are willing to dig with them, but it will also give you a greater appreciation for their day-to-day challenges and struggles.
2. Never speak ill of the top. Speak positively of the company and those who lead you. Doing so will increase the chances that others will speak positively of you. Also refrain from gossip, it erodes trust up and down organization.
3. Be Accountable. It is lonely at the top and there will be times in which you will have to take accountability for those things only you can. Whether you messed up, or your team, you are the leader. Leaders who lead by example understand that they must have the courage to take responsibility and not look for excuses or someone else to blame.
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