Like It or Not, You’re a Role Model

Whether you like it or not, you’re a Role Model! 

It’s about “Setting the Example”; a basic leadership fundamental. I usually lead off with this tenant in all of my leadership talks.

It’s one of those basic, common sense, leadership principles that when we hear it we say to ourselves, “Of course, I understand that”.  

But successful leaders realize that you have to be intentional about setting the example.  

It’s easy to get complacent and forget that we are always on a stage; that one of the prices of leadership is personal freedom and being under a constant spotlight.

In this latest Dose of Leadership podcast episode I discuss the following concepts as it relates to “Setting the Example”:

You are a role model: Whether you like it or not, or realize it or not, you must realize that leadership positions demand that you accept the responsibility as a role model.  I find it amusing that certain celebrities, politicians, & athletes claim that they have a right to be something different out of the spotlight.  Hogwash; one of the realities we have to deal with when we accept a leadership role is a constant scrutiny and visibility to those we are accountable for. Therefore you must be the same person “on & off stage” and hold yourself to a higher standard.

Perception is reality: And since we are constantly “on stage” we have to be “maniacal” about how we are perceived.  One of the unfortunate realities of life is that many times the facts don’t simply matter.  If you are perceived to be a thief, liar, untrustworthy, etc that is the “truth” in someone else’s eyes.  Therefore you must be diligent in your behavior and constantly ask yourself how you are being perceived.  Facts are important, facts are your friends, but never forget the power of perception and optics.

Attention to detail:  Because perception is reality, paying strict attention to the smallest of details will often set you apart from the pack.  People will notice how you are dressed, if you are chewing gum, if you swear, if you leave early from work, etc.  Be “maniacal” about the small stuff and you will be noticed for your efforts.

Avoid “appearing” managerial:  Being a leader is about position or title; it’s about action.  I’ve seen many a leader think that their position relies on delegating and relying on their positional authority to get things done.  In reality, there will be times where you actively need to show your people how you want things done.  I’m all for setting the intent and leaving the “how” up to your folks; I hate micro-management.  But, if you don’t like how something is being done, roll up your sleeves and get down in the trenches and show them how you expect it to be done.  If you don’t like how the toilets are getting cleaned, there should be nothing stopping you to show them exactly how you want it to be done.  Your position doesn’t put you above anything you are asking your folks to do.

At the end of the day, Setting the Example is simply doing the right thing, even when no-one is looking.LIk

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