“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.”
– Albert Einstein
You don’t have to be in “leadership position” to model the values, and behaviors that build trusting and effective personal and professional relationships. In fact, even if you are not deliberately setting out to lead by example, you’re probably doing it anyway. It’s human nature. We care deeply about what goes on around us. We tend to recognize what works, and what doesn’t.
So knowing that people are watching anyway, here are a few ways you can more effectively lead by example.
Be honest. If you are honest with people, it will encourage them to be honest with you. The trust that is created will help catch future problems earlier, and help to resolve internal conflicts before they reel out of control.
Follow through on promises and commitments. Don’t over-promise.
Lighten up. Take the work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
See assets. Don’t dwell on people’s deficits. Recognize the assets that everyone brings to the table. We often see good things in people that they don’t recognize in themselves. Create a culture of compliments.
Focus. Stay determined, resolute, and purposeful. Stay true to your shared vision for the future, but . . .
Prioritize wellness. Don’t let your untiring commitment burn you out. Take care of your physical and mental health, and remind others to do the same.
Own your mistakes, and come up with strategies to fix them.
Be kind. Say, “please,” and “thank you.” Fundamental human decency can be extremely helpful in getting people through difficult challenges.
More walk, less talk. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”