Mar 18, 2020
Whether you know it; whether you like it or not: You are a Role
It's about "Setting
the Example"; a basic leadership fundamental. I usually lead off
with this tenant in all of my leadership talks.
It’s one of those basic, common sense, leadership principles
that when we hear it we say to ourselves, “Of course, I understand
But successful leaders realize that you have to be intentional
about setting the example.
It’s easy to get complacent and forget that we are always on a
stage; that one of the prices of leadership is personal freedom and
being under a constant spotlight.
In this latest Dose of Leadership podcast episode I discuss the
following concepts as it relates to “Setting the Example”:
- You are a role model: Whether you like it or
not, or realize it or not, you must realize that leadership
positions demand that you accept the responsibility as a role
model. I find it amusing that certain celebrities,
politicians, & athletes claim that they have a right to be
something different out of the spotlight. Hogwash; one of the
realities we have to deal with when we accept a leadership role is
a constant scrutiny and visibility to those we are accountable for.
Therefore you must be the same person “on & off stage” and hold
yourself to a higher standard.
- Perception is reality: And since we
are constantly “on stage” we have to be “maniacal” about how we are
perceived. One of the unfortunate realities of life is that
many times the facts don’t simply matter. If you are
perceived to be a thief, liar, untrustworthy, etc that is the
“truth” in someone else’s eyes. Therefore you must be
diligent in your behavior and constantly ask yourself how you are
being perceived. Facts are important, facts are your friends,
but never forget the power of perception and optics.
- Attention to detail: Because perception
is reality, paying strict attention to the smallest of details will
often set you apart from the pack. People will notice how you
are dressed, if you are chewing gum, if you swear, if you leave
early from work, etc. Be “maniacal” about the small stuff and
you will be noticed for your efforts.
- Avoid “appearing” managerial: Being a
leader is about position or title; it’s about action. I’ve
seen many a leader think that their position relies on delegating
and relying on their positional authority to get things done.
In reality, there will be times where you actively need to
show your people how you want things done. I’m all for
setting the intent and leaving the “how” up to your folks; I hate
micro-management. But, if you don’t like how something is
being done, roll up your sleeves and get down in the trenches and
show them how you expect it to be done. If you don’t like how
the toilets are getting cleaned, there should be nothing stopping
you to show them exactly how you want it to be done. Your
position doesn’t put you above anything you are asking your folks
At the end of the day, Setting the Example is simply doing the
right thing, even when no-one is looking.