11 days ago, our family welcomed our beautiful grandson James into this world. My wife and I were there to greet him as he arrived home from the hospital with his proud mommy and daddy. It’s difficult to describe the flood of emotions that hit like the blast of heat when opening a hot oven. How do I make sure, as soon as possible, that he knows how much he is loved? What have I learned that I can pass on? How can I be most helpful to my daughter and son-in-law? What size Eagles and Flyers jersey do I get him?
As leaders, don’t we ask ourselves similar questions, with exception to which size jersey? How can I make sure my team knows they are truly appreciated? How can I best coach my managers to become better leaders and teachers? How can I drive the right behaviors in my organization to maximize our performance? Whether we’re new parents or grandparents, employees, managers, or executives, the answer is to lead by example. Yes, our words are important, but our actions speak volumes.
“Make it your business to draw out the best in
others by being an exemplar yourself.” – Epictetus
Leading by Example
“Leadership is not position or a title;
it’s action and example.” -Cory Booker
Leadership is about teaching, coaching, guiding, and mentoring others, regardless of where you fall in the family tree or company org chart. We listen to what others say, but we especially watch for what they do and/or choose not to do. The spotlight on each of us shines brightly and we must always be aware of how our actions and behaviors can and do influence others. There are times when situations arise that offer us the opportunity to coach or teach. We refer to this as episodic teaching. But there are many times that learning is taking place by each of us observing each other’s behavior. And as many of you recognize, it’s those behaviors that define culture. And the culture we create has a tremendous influence on the success we achieve, personally and professionally.
We All Need to Teach
I believe we all have a responsibility to help others learn, grow, and succeed. We should push each other to achieve our best selves and perform at our highest levels. We should share with others what we’ve learned and how to avoid the mistakes we’ve made. In essence, we all need to be great teachers. Whether we’re thinking of great parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, or business leaders, doesn’t this list of attributes apply to them all?
- They listen to understand you, not to respond
- They speak honestly and constructively
- They focus on collaboration and teamwork
- They’re adaptable and flexible in this world of constant change
- They’re engaging
- They’re empathetic
- And they’re patient
Be the Best Teacher
The best teachers:
- Foster the best and brightest students
- Create the companies we all want to work for
- Get us to perform at levels we were unaware we were capable of
- Have the most success in creating new clients and partnerships
- Give the best advice
We have numerous opportunities each and every day to teach others by our words and actions. Be keenly aware of the influence you have on others in your family, circle of friends, and your company. Let them learn from your example and we will all be better for it.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
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