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.”
In almost any aspect of life—whether personal or professional—we work with other people where we embody many different roles. Of those, one of the most influential roles one can step into is being a leader. We are told to lead by example. But what exactly does that mean to lead by example?
What I have discovered after being led and leading myself, is that effective leaders do not lead by simply telling others what to do. Effective leaders lead by showing others what to do by setting a good example themselves. When you lead by example it is not only encouraging people towards excellence, but it is actively demonstrating that excellence. When I think of leading by example, I think of the saying, “Actions speak louder than words” because often, others are watching what you do and how you react to certain situations more closely than you think they are—especially when you are in a leadership position.
However, I find it difficult to remember that leadership does not demand perfection. For example, when I actively take the lead on a project, or when it is given to me, I find myself getting in my own way by thinking, “If I’m not absolutely perfect in this role, how can I expect others to trust me and follow my lead?” It is important to remember that part of being a leader and leading by example is knowing that we are only human and that being “perfect” is not what anyone should strive for when stepping into leadership positions. I know that this is easier said than done. This JW Way serves as a reminder that as leaders—within our jobs, families, and/or communities—we should strive to be mindful of the actions we take, rather than the commands we make—which in no way means we must be perfect in doing so.
Overall, if we walk the talk, and take responsibility to consistently demonstrate the qualities and attitudes we want our team to embody, that is what makes an effective leader. That is what makes people want to be team players and achieve greatness/excellence together. Which reminds me of one my favorite scenes of Remember the Titans. The attitude of your team reflects the style of your leadership. Let’s remember to build those effective teams through effective leadership. Leading by example allows us to reach our goals and accomplish the visions together.