There's hardly anything worse for a company's morale according to Bruna Martinuzzi than leaders who practice the "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. For example, the manager who tells everyone to stay late and finish the project but leaves promptly at 5:00 pm to go golfing.
Or the CEO who criticizes everyone for spending time on the internet but is discovered buying groceries online in the middle of the afternoon or the CFO who recommends layoffs to stop "unnecessary spending," but buys a brand-new luxury office furniture.
Most leaders know that their actions can influence how a team feels and performs. However, when leaders don’t practice what they preach, you can almost see the loss of enthusiasm and goodwill among the staff. It's like watching the air go out of a balloon – and cynicism and disappointment usually take its place.
If you're in a leadership position, then you know that you have a responsibility to your team to lead by example. No matter what the situation is, you have that responsibility; if there are double standards and the leader saying one thing and then doing another, it always feels like a betrayal. If this ever happened to you, you can probably remember that sense of disappointment and letdown.
So, why is it so important to lead by example?
The legendary Jack Welch
The legendary Jack Welch according to Bruna Martinuzzi, turned GE upside down. By developing a "boundaryless organization, a place where everyone is free to brainstorm and think of ideas – instead of waiting for someone "higher up" in the bureaucracy to think of them first.
He wanted his team turned loose, and he promised to listen to ideas from anyone in the company. And he did. Everyone from the lowest line workers to senior managers got his attention – if they had something to say or a new idea that might make the company better. It wasn't just talking, and it didn't take his team long to figure that out.
Welch stayed true to his passions, his commitment and led by example. GE became an incredibly successful company under his leadership, and his team was always willing to follow his lead because the people within knew that he always kept his word. As a leader, part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves – and, in turn, the company to greatness. To develop yourself into a great leader, you must set the tone and lead by example.
When leaders don't "practice what they preach," it can be almost impossible for a team to work together successfully. How can anyone trust a leader who talks about one thing, but does another? Leading by example is the most powerful form of leadership. Effective leaders model the way for others to follow.
Great leaders push their people forward with excitement, inspiration, trust, and vision. To become one of the great of leadership, it takes the strength of character and a firm commitment to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. This means doing what you say when you say it. Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. If your team can't trust you and your character is questionable, you'll never lead your people and by extension your company to greatness.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 166,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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