Principles of Leadership Part 3: Leading by Example

Leading by Example leads to trust and loyalty from your employees and clients. If you expect behavior that you do not demonstrate, those who you lead might view you as hypocritical.

In my former life as a Junior High teacher, it was pounded into us that kids will mirror and exaggerate the things that you do. If you joke around and act goofy, you will find your students will be super goofy. You’re rude to them? They’re awful to you. And the reverse is true, if you come prepared and professional, so are your students.

Leading by example


For example, in the picture above there are children jumping and following each other.  Do you think that started with verbal instructions or someone showing them how to do it?  I bet it was by leading by example.

Leading by example absolutely applies to any interaction with people, particularly when you are in a leadership position. Psychologically speaking, we want to fit it, to be part of the group, and (especially) to be appreciated. Therefore, when you act the way you expect your people to act, they will mirror that behavior. Want your employees to respond to you in a timely manner? Then do it for them. If you want them to treat their clients with respect, show them how.

I am one who feels it’s essential in communication to show gratitude and respect. At a team meeting a few months ago we were addressing this issue of showing gratitude and kindness. One of our employees said, “Jess, you show us how to communicate with you by the way you respond to us with a thank you every time.” That’s the key. Be the employee you want. Show your co-workers how to communicate, how to work, your loyalty.

To end with a cliché, remember that actions speak louder than words.

– Jess

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