“Set an example…in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” These words from a letter written by the Apostle Paul to his mentee, Timothy, are a simple reminder of the most powerful lesson a leader has to offer. Being a worthy example is one of the most effective ways to teach others.
Being an Example Begins at an Early Age
Children frequently mimic behaviors of parents, siblings, or friends. We have all aspired to be like movie, sports, or television stars. Perhaps we admired their self-confidence, courage, skill, or accomplishments. Their example may have influenced our choice of vocation or fueled our passion to make a difference.
Being an Example May Feel Like a Burden
Today’s celebrities often seem hesitant to serve as role models. Perhaps they prefer to live without the scrutiny of their public persona. Maybe they fear others will imitate their “bad” choices. Under the glare of social media, one thoughtless tweet or careless comment can ruin a person’s reputation. It’s easy to become inconsiderate or impulsive in an unforgiving online world.
Ideas for Setting a Good Example
Perhaps every leader silently yearns to be out of the spotlight, shielded from the responsibility of leading by example. What would happen if leaders intentionally sought to influence the behavior and attitudes of those who respect and love them? Here are some ways they might do just that.
- Shape others by the quality of your work and the core of your character. Consistently live your values and serve others.
- Use your daily encounters with team members, customers, and vendors to inspire others. Be present, show you care, and act graciously.
- Avoid the impulsive missteps that often accompany social media interactions. Think before posting or tweeting. Respond to criticism with restraint and kindness.
A newborn baby innocently mimics our actions without pretense or guile. They trust the one who is giving them attention at that moment.
“Set an example…in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
Leaders can use the power of their example to change the world, provided their words and deeds are worth imitating. Are yours?
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