Sometimes we minimize the value of familiar phrases. One illustration is the phrase “leading by example.” We’ve all heard it, and no doubt give it credence, but let it go at that. It’s worth much more than a passing thought. One of my all-time favorite quotes on leadership is by Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was a musician/physician/philosopher/theologian from Alsace-Lorraine. He said:
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
To my mind, that sums it up quite neatly. As a leader, if you use nothing other than this for your guiding principle, you will be well-advised.
Food for Thought ~
Think of the people in your life who have influenced you, both for better and for worse. Most likely it was their example, what they did, even more than what they said. It’s very powerful when your conduct and your words are consistent, and you use language to verbally express the thoughts and values related to your behavior and actions. Remember that the power of example will always outweigh any other type of influence. As a leader, you are always being observed and evaluated based on what you say and do. Use that visibility wisely.
Question for the day ~
Do you conduct yourself as a leader with this in mind? Are there any ways you might improve your leading by example?