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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lead by Example...because you already are

We often hear the exhortation "lead by example" and there are all sorts of web pages and books about how you can best do that.

While it's a great topic for discussion, I really don't want to go into the different ways you can lead by example. There are plenty of people who've already done that.

I'd rather step back for a second and think about what leading by example means. To me, it means that leaders are on display. These leaders can be parents, bosses, team leaders, project managers, countries (like America...since this IS the 4th of July) and those who wield influence or cause others to view them as beings to emulate.

If you're a leader, you're always on display. That means others -- bosses, colleagues and followers -- watch how you exhibit that leadership. They can see if you're having a good day or a bad one (and you know that if a boss is having a bad day, everybody's going to have a bad day). They can tell if you walk the walk -- if your actions line up with your words. They can tell what you really think is acceptable and what is not.

The adage, "lead by example" kind of makes me think that leaders have a choice of whether or not to do that or that "leading by example" is an achievement to strive for.

Unfortunately, it's not that way at all. As soon as put on the mantle of command, in whatever form that takes, you ARE leading by example and the sooner you realize it -- the sooner you embrace that constant scrutiny, the judgments make by all those around you -- the more successful leader you'll be.

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