The Coates Perspective for February 14, 2013
“Steering Organizations To New Horizons.”
Setting The Kind Of Example You Want Others To Follow
There are few greater burdens in leadership than the one of having every word spoken, every task accomplished placed under the watchful microscope of others. This phenomenon of leadership can be a good thing . . . or it can turn out badly too. The outcome depends upon the leader.
It was Norman Vincent Peale who said, “Nothing is more confusing than people who give good advice but set a bad example.” Setting a good example is often much easier said than done. Humorist and writer Mark Twain spoke for all of us when he wrote, “To do what is right is wonderful. To teach what is right is even more wonderful—and much easier.”
So, how does the leader set the example he or she wants others to follow? We must be consistent in what we say and what we do. It was Featherstone who once said, “Leaders tell but never teach until they practice what they preach.” Or to put it another way, Coach John Wooden’s perspective drives the point home: “Show me what you can do; don’t tell me what you can do.” We must live out what we believe.
Here is the take-a-way for the leader who desires to be consistent in what is said and what is actually accomplished. How is it done? What does a leader have to do in order to set an example he or she wants others to follow? Here are a few suggestions:
1. We must maintain our credibility by not overpromising when we know secretly that our words are much cheaper than our actions.
2. We must be acutely aware that we are under the microscope and carefully select our words.
3. We must be committed to match our talk with our walk.
You’ve read my perspective. Now, I’d love to hear yours. What are you thinking? How do you ensure that your words and your deeds match?
If you need help working through the process consider using the resources at Coates and Associates, Inc. We would consider it an honor to visit with you about developing a process forward.