A Leader Should Lead by Example

Have you seen this?  In —“Walk the Talk” Loses Credibility— Harry Jones talks about leaders and the later more common practice in which those same leaders are not “doing” but just “saying”.  Does that catch your interest?  It caught mine.

When I was in the U.S. Marine Corps, from the moment I stepped off the bus at Parris Island Marine Corps recruit depot (that’s “Boot Camp” to most of you) I had to memorize…Marine Corps Leadership Principles and Traits

These same principles and traits were reinforced and tested, yes on written tests, throughout my career as a Marine.  If you look at them, you will find one principle of “Set the example.”

If you had been with me in 1991 when I was a Marine Corporal in charge of waking and gathering my Marine platoon for morning formation, cleanup, and releasing them to prepare for the day at work… you may have asked me the same question that many of my Marines had asked me.

“How are you always in full uniform when you come to knock on my door at 5:30 am?”

The fact was, I would wake at least an hour earlier than they,  just so I could shower and get dressed in order to be ready at 5:30 to wake everyone else.  I was then able to supervise and knock on doors while everyone else was getting ready for the day.

This may not surprise you, but it certainly surprised many of the new Marines.  “You mean being the boss meant you did more work, not less?”

You and I know, that being the leader usually means you work harder to set the example and tempo for the people you lead.  If you wish to maintain the ethos, the credibility, of you and the message you are trying to convey, you can use the most effective method.  You can practice what you preach.  You can “set the example”.

So when I read Harry’s post, it seemed so obvious.  It has always been obvious to me.  A leader does what one asks of one’s followers.  A leader does not bail out with a golden parachute and leave all the employees to suffer without pay, without jobs, and without recourse.

I am still astounded when I see this “protect yourself” mentality from leaders.  Why are the homes, cars, mortgages, yachts, and golf club memberships not being repossessed from those executives who have led companies to ruin?

What if you are a speaker?  Does this apply to you?  It sure does!  As a speaker, you are a leader to your audience.

It all reminds me to go take another look at those same leadership principles and traits… and ask myself if I am living up to them.  Am I being a leader in my everyday actions?  Am I taking care of my followers?  Or am I just packing my golden parachute so I can pull the cord when it’s most convenient?

What are you doing to set an example for those you lead?

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