Titles are granted, but it is your behavior that wins you respect.
Leading means you have to be a good example, and live by what you say. This sentiment has been shared by all across the long history of leadership. Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others and how to better communicate to manage performance.
- Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared ideals. Leaders model the way. To effectively model the behavior they expect of others, leaders must first be clear about guiding principles. They must clarify values. They have to open up their hearts and let people know what they really think and believe. This means talking about their values. Leaders must find their own voices and must clearly and distinctively give voice to their values. As personal-best stories illustrate, leaders are supposed to stand up for their beliefs, although it’s not just the leader’s values that are important. They are not just representing themselves, they speak and act on behalf of a larger organization. Leaders must forge agreement around common principles and common ideals.
- Set the example by aligning actions with shared values. Eloquent speeches about common values, however, are not nearly enough. Leaders’ deeds are far more important than their words when one wants to determine how serious leaders really are about what they say. Words and deeds must be consistent. Exemplary leaders go first by setting the example through daily actions that demonstrate they are deeply committed to their beliefs. A leader discovers that their actions speak volumes about how the team needs to ‘‘take ownership of the things they believe in and value.’’ There will not be anything the leader asks others to do that they will not be willing to do themselves, and as a result, while they always trust their team, their team in turn trusts them.
Exemplary leadership looks back on a history of personal-best projects, all distinguished by relentless effort, steadfastness, competence, and attention to detail. One can’t help but be struck by how the actions leaders took to set an example were often simple things. Sure, leaders had operational and strategic plans, but the examples they gave were not about elaborate designs. They were about the power of spending time with someone, of working side by side with colleagues, of telling stories that made values come alive, of being highly visible during times of uncertainty, and of asking questions to get people to think about values and priorities.
Modeling the way is about earning the right and the respect to lead through direct involvement and action. People follow the person first, then the plan.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
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