Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

The power of leadership by example – some further thoughts

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on July 24, 2011

This past December, 2010 I posted a short entry to my Business Strategy and Operations directory titled The Power of Leadership by Example. The types of issues I touched on there have a habit of coming back to my attention and they have again, and I decided to add a new posting here, continuing this earlier discussion.

I laid out the basic issues there, that a “do as I say and not as I do” attitude rapidly erodes the trust you need from those you would lead, if they are to follow you. And a leader who is not followed is not and cannot be a leader. Leading by example means setting a positive example as a member of the group or organization that you would lead. Leading by example is all about building and maintaining a foundation of trust that you are worthy of leadership responsibilities and that you will consistently seek to do the right thing. And that is where this posting enters this story.

• Leadership skills can be learned, and that includes leadership by example skills.

Look at what you do, and what you fail to do from the perspective of the people you work with and who rely on you. Are you following a double standard and permitting yourself slack in doing and in following through on what you are to do, that you would not permit of others? If you hold to a double standard, be more demanding of yourself rather than less so. Set a good example that others can strive for.

This is an area where a mentor with their outsider perspective can be of real help in identifying where you may be conveying mixed messages, and ones that cannot but cause problems. But you can probably identify the more important areas of potential conflict yourself too. If you are moving into a leadership position, and the role model position that entails, what have you been doing as a member of the group or organization’s team that might convey that wrong message when coming from the top? Do you cut corners in areas that have not been a problem where you were not making final decisions and taking leadership responsibility, but that could be problematical now? Should you reconsider these decisions and actions in a new light when you would be doing them from a more senior position?

This is, in fact a posting in my Business Strategy and Operations directory that also connects strongly with the general thrust of what I have been seeking to develop through my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development. Lead by example, and always, always look for opportunities to do better and to do it more effectively – and not just for you but for the teams you work with and for the entire organization as well.

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