There are nothing more infuriating than a hypocritical leader.  There is a boss who regularly leaves the office early for personal business/plans, but demands everyone stay until exactly 5 P.M. and there is a manager who assigns impossible tasks, then shirks responsibility when the outcome is (predictably) less than desired. Leaders are those who make good things happen. And one of the ways they do it is by giving people a reason to believe and to follow. That’s simple and easy to say, but it takes a lifetime of trying to put into practice. There are no shortcuts, but there are signposts. The job of a manager is to get the system running; it is the job of the leader to turn on the system, and, more especially, to get others to turn it on and to do this a leader must;

Put the team first,

Handle the tough stuff ,

Set the right example,

Act the part.

Taking over the top job, be it team leader or CEO, is never easy. When it is done the right way, it is called leadership; when it is done the wrong way, it is called a disaster. It falls on the person in charge to give the team a reason to believe in his/her talents and ability to get the team  to work together.

There’s hardly anything worse for team morale than leaders who practice the “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy, and when this happens, you can almost see the loss of enthusiasm and goodwill among the team members.

Leaders who say one thing, and seeing doing another – always feel like betrayals. They can be very destructive.

Everyone in  leadership position has a responsibility to the team he/she is leading. The team looks to you for guidance and strength, and a big part of the responsibility is to lead team with your own actions.

Why is it so important to lead by example; and what happens when you don’t?

There’s an old saying about the difference between a manager and a leader: “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” (It’s best to be both a manager and a leader – they’re just different processes). As a leader, part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves – and, in turn, the team/company – to greatness.

When a leader say one thing and do another, the team will ask, “If he doesn’t do it, why should they?” A leaders hypocrisy fosters resentment, suspicion, mistrust and doubt. To be a truly effective leader, you must lead by example.

Leadership only succeeds when it shows others how to extend and push for greatness. Your team should look at you and think, “If she can do it, I can, too.” True leaders do not whip their team into shape from the back of the pack — that’s a dictatorship. They lead the charge, while carrying their share of the weight.

People are put into positions of authority, but it is up to the individual to earn the respect and trust of his followers. When followers see the leader doing what is right for the team; that is, supporting, developing, nurturing, and defending in good times and bad, they grant their trust. The same trust-building revenue applies to individuals. Managers who put the interests of their people first by finding ways to help them grow, develop, and take on more responsibilities cease to be mere managers; they are leaders of men and women who have earned their rank by giving their people a reason to believe.

To Achieve Results a Leader must;

  • Demonstrate character. It forms the foundation of everything a leader says and does.
  •  Lighten up and take the work seriously
  • Check your ego at the door (and keep it there).
  • Be accountable for your actions and responsible for the actions of others
  • Management is the discipline of detail. Leadership is the art of thinking beyond details in order to make things better.
  • Promote resilience. There is no shame in getting knocked down; it’s getting back up that matters.
  • Encourage dissent about issues but promote civility around people.
  • Get in the habit of asking questions but do not expect easy answers. Make it safe for people to ask you questions, too.
  • Manage around obstacles. The path to fulfilled goals is seldom straight.
  • Drive innovation by encouraging everyone on the team to think and act creatively. Good ideas can come from anyone at anytime.
  • Create a winning culture so that people feel confident about themselves and their work.
  • Change always happens. Learn to anticipate, embrace, and adapt to it and teach others to do the same.
  • Teach others “the how” —then get out of the way and let people do their jobs.
  •  Honor tradition but seek to do things that benefit people today and for tomorrow.
  •  Get off the pedestal. Leadership is less about who you are than what you do

Leading by example is the fastest way to train a team. When you hold yourself to a high standard, your team will look to gain your approval by doing the same. They will rise to their expectations of excellence, integrity, and respect when you give them the same. And when your team is composed of excellence, you are sure to see success.

10 thoughts on “Why Must You Lead by Example?”

  1. Thank you Felicia.

    Going through, I was forced to think of some managers I know and shook my head. I think these attributes are better learnt before getting to leadership positions as we are growing up the ladder. Managers do not change overnight, they carry their old lifestyles into management.

    As we grow up the ladder, becoming senior to others and delegated some responsibilities, we can begin to practice these skills while leading our subordinates. It will help us fit in when get the overall leadership. It’s a learning process.

  2. This is well detailed and articulated. Leading oneself is first step of leading by example. When we are able to get certain things right with ourselves first is goes along way to reflect on how others follow suit.

    I want to say thanks for sharing this wonderful article on the concept of leadership here.

    Salutations to you.

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