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JW Way Fundamental #19: Lead by Example  “The best way to influence others and maintain our culture is by one’s own examples. Walk the talk. Don’t ask others to do what you won’t or can’t. Take responsibility to consistently demonstrate the JW Way.”

Leading by example is an interesting thing.  People tend to associate it with big moments and dramatic scenes.  When you think or speak about leading by example, the mind’s eye goes to heroic images of Wonder Woman charging into battle or a single person in an act of defiance standing in front of a row of armed military tanks. 

It’s not what you show in the big moments that most affect the people around you, it’s what you demonstrate day in and day out in your everyday interactions that most influences people around you.  What makes an impression on other people is not so much how you behave in the heat of the moment – whether you rise to the occasion or snap at others under the pressure – as how you behave every day.  We remember the high points and the low, but what really shapes our view of others is the middle.

Another thing I’ve been considering about leadership is that I – and a lot of people – only think about it in the context of either peer-to-peer or from a boss to an employee. We can – and should – always exemplify the qualities we want to see.  When things are stressful, I’ve never found anything to be more helpful in getting through and getting things done than someone else staying calm in the face of stressful events.  When things are tough, interacting with someone calm – even someone who isn’t involved in the stress themselves – helps me find my center and get myself together to face whatever the crisis may be. 

Be the change you want to see in the world – and, to quote Mr. Rogers, “when things get tough, look for the helpers.”

About the Author: Hanna Stevens is a litigation legal assistant at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. 

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