Leading By Example
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality” —Warren Bennis
Leadership in its most basic form involves an individual guiding a team’s behavior with specific instructions. As an individual grows more experienced, a heightened skill-set of leadership should be practiced and perfected. Leading by example is the characteristic of a true leader. By demonstrating leadership skills through examples, actions, and ethical choices, leaders can influence teams to meet and exceed goals by working together.
Displaying daily examples of leadership allows teaching opportunities at every turn. How a leader handles conflict or difficult situations models the behavior they expect from their team. Without discussing the learning opportunity specifically, a leader modeling appropriate behavior encourages their team to follow their lead and do as they do. Teammates learn to succeed through their leader’s consistent example.
Actionable follow-through shows a team that their leader not only says the right things but is also accountable to put their words into practice. A discussion of the vision for success is a good starting point, but a leader actually demonstrating the action discussed is most effective. Teammates are much more willing to follow a leader who “walks the walk” alongside the team. These actions also foster a spirit of comradery between the different ranks within the workplace.
The internal compass of a leader motivates the choices they make for the team, both publically and when the outcome isn’t widely known. Choosing to do the wise thing as a leader sets the standard of excellence for the team and encourages everyone to make ethical choices congruent with the leader’s vision. It is most important for leaders to use their influence in positive ways, which in turn raises the bar for others around him.
Leading by example encompasses aspects of a leader’s life beyond the instructions verbalized to the team. Through choices of model behavior and high standards, a leader can grow his team to extraordinary success and convert goals into realities.