Would you follow your example of leadership?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re leading at work, at home and in your community. You lead by your example in all the areas of your life.

Your team members are watching. Your spouse, children, extended family and people you don’t even know also are looking to you for guidance on how to successfully navigate the professional and personal realms of life.

Is your example a consistently solid one?

To be an effective, trusted, respected and admired leader, you must provide a solid example for others to follow — one that empowers them to achieve what they’re capable of achieving. You must provide an example that’s composed, fair, foward-focused, honest, intelligent, inspiring and responsive; proactive rather than reactive; egalitarian; and not based in fear. The greatest leaders in history exhibited these very same qualities that spoke to the hearts and minds of their followers.

One critical trait of effective, trusted, respected and admired leaders is self-accountability. That’s the ability to hold yourself to the standards of effective communication, openness and teamwork as well as empowering others, learning and implementation. True leaders don’t need others to hold them accountable because they know the power of implementing these qualities on a consistent basis. In fact, effective, trusted, respected and admired leaders enjoy holding themselves accountable to the very best that’s within them. They also find pleasure in helping others be their very best as well and develop constructive approaches to accomplish this transformative feat.

If you’ve ever been in a situation in which a person in a position of leadership was irrational, verbally abusive and didn’t listen, you understand leadership is about actions and not titles. In an environment in which a “leader” adds to the dysfunction of the situation instead of contributing to its improvement, leadership is damaged and even destroyed. Team members come to distrust this person and loyalty evaporates. They also lose the willingness to listen to this leader, respect for the person vanishes and so does their desire to follow.

Effective, trusted, respected and admired leadership is not about ordering people around like a drill sergeant. Leadership is about helping those around you become leaders in their own right. It’s about guiding people to the discovery and realization of their potential on a consistent basis. Rather than creating dependency and fear in others, true leaders mentor others to reach for more within themselves and their experiences.

The very best leaders are those who look at themselves first for the improvements that can be made. They don’t blame others. They look in the mirror, own what is theirs to fix, do so and then work constructively with others to be accountable as well. They’re not the victims of others or circumstances, and they don’t break in the face of challenging situations.

Effective, trusted, respected and admired leaders seek solutions. Rather than being blinded by problems, they see opportunities for growth, development and improvement. They have a “get-to” attitude, are grateful for life and all that it contains and don’t take people and life for granted. They understand the value of life, time and empowered team members.

Solid leadership in your business begins with you. Do you provide a consistent and credible example for the rest of your team to follow? Developing the ability to lead effectively will have an enormously positive effect on the success of your businesses. As your leadership becomes more effective, so will the rest of your team. The company culture will thrive as team members are inspired by your leadership. Positive energy will grow as people feel heard, recognized, supported and valued and will strive to be their best as they’re consistently encouraged to do so by your example.

In the words of the late entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”

As a leader, it’s a wise choice to be what you want from others first and to treat people as you would want to be treated. This is called integrity, and it’s the foundation of truly effective leadership.