When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you.

A recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation asked “what one trait is most important for a person leading you“?  Their findings may surprise you. The results are:

26%  Leading by example
19%  Strong ethics or morals
17%  Knowledge of the business
14%  Fairness
13%  Overall intelligence and competence
10%  Recognition of employees

Since Leading By Example ranked highest, does that imply that many leaders are NOT leading by example? That they don’t actively support a shared vision and goals? That integrity and accountability are not part of their daily behaviors and activities? That they expect things from others that they wouldn’t or don’t do? That they don’t manage conflict or give honoring feedback? That communication may be lacking, unclear, or inconsistent? We’re not sure, but as leaders we need to be mindful that leading by example is a major “want”.

John C. Maxwell shares what he calls the “The Law Of The Picture” and says “People do what people see”. (Excerpts from his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership)

1. Followers are always watching you.
If the bosses come in late, then employees feel that they can, too. If the bosses cut corners, employees cut corners. People do what people see. Followers may doubt what their leaders say, but they usually believe their actions. And they imitate it.

2. It’s easier to teach than to do.
Nothing is more convincing than people who give good advice and set a good example.

3. We should work to change ourselves before changing others.
A great danger to good leadership is the temptation to try to change others without first making changes to yourself.

4. The most valuable gift a leader can give is being a good example.
More than anything else, employees want leaders whose beliefs and actions line up. They want good models who lead from the front.

Make sure you set the example you want others to emulate. Would you want to work for you? Was there any hesitation answering that question? If yes, dig deep and assess what changes could be made so the answer becomes a resounding “yes”!

The reality is that the only way change comes is when you lead by example.
— Anne Wojcicki