Leadership- Lead by Example, Not by Extortion
” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” This is the famous quote from former American President, John Quincy Adams. What a simple way of defining a “leader “! When we zoom in, it takes us to an interesting topic, ” leading by example “.
As leaders, we have a choice either to lead by example or by extortion. Leadership by its nature bestows us with powers and many of us lead by enforcing the powers and influence we have. But we forget the fact that leadership by extortion don’t make people to follow us but probably chase them away from us. When we set a good example through values, we illustrate the behavior we expect from others as they interact with each other and conduct their business.
We all have read the saying, “practice what you preach, do not preach what you do not practice”. The statement explains it all when it comes to effectively leading by example. If we want to be efficient leaders, we need to “walk the talk” and not only “talk the talk”. Interestingly, there are two types of leaders: Those that lead by their words, and those who lead by their actions. The ones who lead by their actions are leaders who lead by example, or getting people to follow them based on what they do, and not what they tell others to do.
The question is, how do we most effectively lead by example? No doubt, leading by example boosts morale, and it helps us gain a sense of control over those we are managing. When we are willing to get our hands dirty to show others what has to be done, we are not only making people respect us, but we are helping others learn skills that they will need to be better employees as well.
Let me take you through some simple tips which can help us to lead by example.
1) Think before we talk : Think before we speak or act. As a leader, our words and actions will be looked upon and criticized or emulated by others. People want to believe in their leaders.
2) Believe in ourselves : Believe in what we do and do what we love. If we don’t believe in our goals, then convincing others that they should work towards them will be very hard.
3) Be fair & honest : Treat others as we would like them to treat us. If we treat others fairly and justly, we can expect that they will treat us the same. If we treat them unjustly, expect that they will treat us unfavorably. A good leader is honest and respectful.
4) Be pro-active : Create chances and be pro-active. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to us. Being pro-active instead of reactive enables us to be ready for difficult situations and take advantage of positive circumstances.
5) Give our ears : Listen to others. Listening is a key communication tool. Showing others that we are interested in what they have to stay will help gain their respect. If they don’t respect us, they won’t want to follow our lead.
6) Decision making : Stay firm in our decisions. If we aren’t committed to our decisions, we can’t expect others to be committed to theirs.
7) Be a team player : Stand behind our team. If a team member makes a mistake, take the blame for the mistake. Don’t point fingers. Figure out why the mistake was made and how it could be prevented in the future.
8) Be a role model : We have to speak the part, dress the part, act the part, smile, be appropriate and do not complain. Sounds difficult, but we have to build up our reputation as a strong and well balanced leader that others will want to emulate.
9) Be Positive : Be consistent and do so with a positive attitude. Being fair with everyone and if someone needs to be corrected for something then do so in private.
10) Take care of ourselves : Of course to be productive as a leader, we must take care of ourselves and find a healthy balance. That balance differs from one person to the next, so finding our own will be up to us. Take care of our mind, body and soul to create a positive person.
It is said that, great leadership takes strength of character and a firm commitment to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. Which means, doing what we say, when we say it. If our team can’t trust us, we’ll probably never lead them to greatness.