Lead by example ~ Walk the talk, not just talk the talk
Also featured in Women of Influence
March 11, 2013, in Career / Leadership
“Walk the Talk” is the motto that all great leaders follow. Great leaders lead by example. It’s through their example that they are able to motivate others to take action or make change. They are clear with their vision and passionate about their beliefs. We see many examples of this throughout our history: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Winston Churchill. In our present day we also see great leadership in the business world with the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Indra Nooyi and Warren Buffett. Every one of us has the ability, if we choose, to express the great leadership that resides in each and every one of us.
So what can we learn from great leaders? How do we learn to inspire those around us? Great leaders all model certain behaviour and you can model their same behaviour and positively impact those around you.
5 models of behaviour for great leadership
- Practice what you preach ~ Surprisingly, this can be difficult for people. It takes lots of courage to practice what you preach, particularly in the face of adversity. It can set you apart from others which can feel uncomfortable. But this is what separates the great leaders from the bad. It’s hard to be motivated when your leader is telling you something that you know they themselves don’t do.
- Have integrity ~ This means the leader lives their values, by acting with honour and truthfulness, in relationships with family, coworkers, customers and stakeholders. Great leaders have strong ethical/moral compasses that they constantly live by 24/7, not just when it’s convenient.
- Take responsibility ~ When the going gets tough, great leaders will take ownership for what’s happening. Great leadership doesn’t mean that you only look at and react to the positive. Negative situations distinguish the good from the great. Great leaders will not blame others but recognize that they had a part to play in whatever the situation is before them. As a result, they will admit responsibility for any failure and be the first to recognize others in times of success.
- Roll up your sleeves ~ Pitch in and do the work when needed. Great leaders understand that leadership doesn’t exempt them from pitching in and helping out where and when needed. Yes, leaders may have teams that support their cause, but they also do whatever is needed to reach their vision and goals. So if the garbage needs to be taken out, do it.
- Capitalize on the strengths of those around you ~ Great leaders understand that their success is directly related to those around them. Great leadership is not a one person show. Support is needed from many people. Great leaders know this and are willing to use other strengths to help obtain their vision and goals. As a result, great leaders know their areas of weakness and support it with others who shine in these areas without feeling threatened.
Now that you understand the 5 models of behaviour of a great leader, it’s time for you to take 1 of these behaviours and put it into practice. Share your goal with someone you trust to help you learn or fine-tune your leadership skills. Ask them to provide constructive feedback on you progress. When the model of behaviour you’ve been working on feels natural, move on to the next until you’ve mastered all 5.
Being a great leader is as much about the journey as it is about the destination (the vision). Being a leader is an honour. It’s a skill set that must be taught and constantly perfected. Seeking improvement and feedback is imperative for growth. So, if you’re a leader or want to become a leader, follow these models of behaviour and you’ll be well on your way to inspiring and motivating others through your great leadership.
What are your success stories and/or struggles with your leadership journey? We would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!
Adriana Girdler is the President of CornerStone Dynamics Inc and an expert in business efficiency, helping leading corporations streamline internal processes to work smarter and improve productivity. Learn more about Adriana Girdler.