Have you ever respected any leaders whose words did not match their actions? Have you ever had respect for a leader who preached personal values, yet behaved differently?
The fundamental component of People-First Leadership™ is to Lead by Example. This is the core — the component that will either establish your credibility or kill it. Just remember: Lack of credibility will prevent you from earning commitment and trust from your team members. Without that, there is no leadership.
To determine whether you are a person who Leads by Example, ask yourself the following question:
Would you work for you?
Think about it. Would you respect yourself based on the behaviors you exhibit today? Would you find yourself credible? Would you be committed to you?
Leading by Example has nothing to do with charisma. It has little to do with being a public hero. It is not dictated by the traits you were born with. It is simply about personal alignment.
People-First Leaders™ generate commitment as they Lead by Example by focusing on the following actions:
- They go first. Leaders never ask others to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.
- They model the behaviors they want to see in others. It may mean demonstrating your competency. You might have to show up earlier and stay later, or be the first to contribute before asking others to contribute. There are many ways to lead by example, and thousands of opportunities for it every day.
- They are clear about their personal values, and act accordingly. Our values aren’t something we simply check at the door when we step into the workplace. They follow us around and exhibit themselves in subtle ways. They have an impact on our every behavior. Often, leaders aren’t clear about their personal values; as a result, they say one thing and act very differently.
- They know themselves. Effective leaders understand how their personal style affects the people around them — peers, team members, manager. They understand why they respond to others the way you do. People-First leaders have a deep sense of self-awareness and like to explore, challenge, and learn about themselves and their emotions.
- They seek self-improvement. There is no one destination in leadership development. Finishing a two-day course or a nine-month program doesn’t mean you have arrived. Being an effective and impactful leader requires that you are consistently developing and learning, and always seeking self-improvement.