The power of leading by example is one of the most profound areas of contribution to leadership. Whether you are an army of one or commanding legions, someone must take the lead.
“We can’t all be heroes, because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”- Will Rogers
It may seem this way sometimes, but in fact, we are all leaders to some extent or another. You may lead your family, lead a group activity, or lead a team at work. You might lead the way in innovation, or in teaching new generations the cultures of the past. In one way or another, you are a leader.
The biggest influence you have as a leader is the example you set for others. People pay less attention to what you say, and more attention to what you do. By example, you are making an impact all the time.
Think back on your school and work history. Who were the most influential teachers and bosses that you’ve had? Some influenced you by showing you what you don’t want to be like as a leader, but the ones that made the biggest impact on you were likely the teachers and managers who brought out the best in you and taught you through their own example.
What are some character traits of a great leader?
What skills can great leaders teach through their example?
- Tactical skills
- Mastery of a craft
How do great leaders lead through their example?
- Modeling appropriate behavior
- Teaching complex concepts
- Walking the walk
- Championing their cause
Your leading by example has great power to shape whatever situation you find yourself in. You have the power to influence those looking to you in ways you can’t imagine. You can help build someone’s character, teach them a skill, and encourage their self-worth just by doing what you do best.
A great rule of thumb to keep in mind is that we are never unobserved. The world is always responding to our presence. Do your best to act from a place of integrity, and think about your influence wherever you are. Do what you can to be mindful of the fact that someone, somewhere, is looking up to you and being influenced by your behavior. Even in the smallest of ways, your solitary existence is making an important impact on the world.
Whether you are the leader of a Fortune 500 company or the commander of your household, you are a leader and have influence wherever you go. Be a good example to those looking up to you, and walk with confidence knowing that you are helping to mold and shape those you lead as they watch you.