You are leading by example all the time whether we like it or not. People always look to the leader to set the example. During times of turbulence the is a greater need for leaders to step out, to lead from the front, to show the way. This requires that that leader be an example. Too many leaders forget how important this is especially during uncertain and turbulent times.
Your Example is Your Influence
Leadership is not position, leadership is influence. The implication is that no person can announce you as leader, no organisation can give you the title of leader rather it’s something that you have to earn. And you earn it through influence and the impact you’re making in the lives of those around you. Leadership does not happen simply by calling ourselves director, president, executive or manager, leadership, that is leadership does not happen as a result of our role or position. In reality, there are no leaders, only acts of leadership! Leadership is responsibility and action, not position in a hierarchy.
Whether you occupy a formal leadership position or not, all leadership is influence. Influence requires that you inspire people to devote themselves to advancing your cause and by far the best form of influence is the example you set. In fact example is so powerful that that nations have been changed by a few courageous individuals who choose to set a different and compelling example, to show the way for others, just consider the example set by Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
No one can declare you as leader, leadership is influence and influence is something you do every day, it’s the example you set in your actions. It’s what we do that makes us great leaders, not what what we say. It’s the responsibility of the leader to be the first to show the actions that you want your team to display.
Your Example Must Become Deliberate
Effective leadership requires that you become aware of your behaviours and the impact they have on others. You must become aware of how your behaviour is being interpreted.
“Leaders live in fish bowl and are always being watched. They should always be conscious of that fact and take advantage of it.” – Gene Klann
As a leader everything you do has an influence on others. As leader your actions and behaviours are being examined, interpreted and amplified all the time, they serve as guide posts to others for how things should be done and what is expected. Given this there is a huge opportunity for leaders to set an example that aligns people with the organisations vision, culture and strategy. When leaders set a deliberate example with the goal of shaping strategy and culture, magic happens. Trust increases, behaviours change, collaboration improves and goals are achieved.
As leader you must become deliberate in the example you set. If you are to increase your influence and have impact as a leader you must get clarity on the example you need to set to drive the right kind of change and bring your vision into reality. That is you must set a deliberate and specific kind leadership example. The following steps provides an approach to help you gain clarity concerning the beliefs and actions you will need to set a deliberate example.
- Ensure that you are taking responsibility for facing reality as it is not as you wish it to be.
- Develop an effective vision that provides clarity on the way forward. As the leader you must go first, it’s the leader which shows the way.
- Take the time to develop a clear leadership philosophy in support of your vision and as the foundation for consistent action.
- Translate your vision and philosophy into a set of actions that you can use to guide your behaviour and set the example for your team.
As a leader you’re always leading. Everything you do as a leader sets an example and sends a message, the question is what kind of example are you setting, what impact is it having, what results is it producing?
- You already lead by example the only questions is what kind of example are you setting?
- Are you being the leadership example that you need to be?
- Are you setting a deliberate example?