Marine Corps. Leadership: Set The Example

As leaders, we can never underestimate the power of our example.

As leaders, we can never underestimate the power of our example.

“Example is leadership.” – Albert Schweitzer

There are two sayings that have served as great reminders about leadership example: “The wrong I do in moderation they will do  in excess,” and “People will only be half as excited and enthusiastic as I am.”

When leaders take liberties that are not afforded to them by the organization, their subordinates or team members will soon do the same. If a leader doesn’t act supportive of a new initiative, neither will their team members. Leaders not only set expectations, they set the example.

This doesn’t mean that a leader will be, or even can be perfect. However, we as leaders must make sure we do all that we can to maintain the integrity of our leadership and the integrity of the organization.

6 ways we can BE the example:

1. Be competent with your responsibilities – When leaders are not competent with information or their responsibilities they communicate that it is OK for everyone to be incompetent.

2. Be willing to do what you’ve asked others to do – Southwest Airlines founder, Herb Kelleher, helped his employees load luggage on Thanksgiving day. Being the example means not always being the exception. Sometimes you have to be what you want to see.

3. Be optimistic – It is easy to look at all the negative. Leaders encourage their people that the prize is greater than the obstacles and is wroth the effort.

4. Be just – When we make too many exceptions for other people, or even ourselves, others start to believe they are the exceptions as well.

5. Be on – It is no secret that professional life and personal life greatly affect one another; however, as leaders, our work environment is not the place for us to take out our frustrations with our personal lives. Successful leaders have coaches, counselors, or peer groups to help them be all there, wherever ever they are.

6. Believe in others – Collaboration leads to innovation. We must be willing to collaborate and invest ourselves into others, if we are going to expect those under our influence to do the same.

What else would you add?

Who has led you by example, that you really appreciated? 

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