Lead by example is not a choice. George & Mary-Lynn tell you why on The BIGG Success Show Podcast. Press Play (Duration 4:28)
“Lead by example” is bad advice which leads to bad leadership. It implies a choice which doesn’t exist.
Yet if there were such a thing as “The 10 Commandments for Leaders,” one of them would surely be “Lead by example.”
We say it. But we’ve realized we failed to make note of this problem…
It implies that you have a choice as a leader. You don’t.
You can’t choose whether or not you will lead by example. One way or another, you WILL lead by example – either a good one or a bad one.
Here’s why it’s important to realize that you don’t have a choice – your people will follow your lead. You can’t expect them to do otherwise.
If you default to a bad example, your people will do likewise. Let’s look at three ways this shows itself in the workplace.
What’s good for the leader is good for the led
If it’s good for you as the leader, it’s good for your people.
People are put off by people of privilege, people who act like there’s a different set of rules for them.
[George] I’ll never forget when I was in training for my first franchise. We learned about a store owner who went to the cash register every day, hit the “No Sale” button, grabbed some money and went to lunch.
He was surprised when one of his employees started doing the same thing!
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!
“But I’m the owner! It’s my money. I’ve earned it.” This is what many entrepreneurs and business owners think.
Yes, you may be the owner, but there’s a way to take money out of your business and there’s a way not to. If you don’t want them to do it too, don’t do it yourself.
A leader who cares is a leader who’s cared for
If you don’t care about your people, don’t be surprised when your people don’t care.
This is when the ripples start turning to tidal waves.
They won’t care about you, so don’t expect any favors. Don’t expect them to put forth any extra effort. Don’t expect them to step up when you really need them.
But the ripple becomes a tidal wave – Don’t expect them to care for your customers any more than you care about them. Don’t expect them to look out for the company any more than you look out for them.
Can you see how serious this can get in an instant?
Can you see how costly it is to not understand that you can’t choose – you lead by example, for good or for bad?
The bottom line is a two-edged sword for leaders
If you’re all about money, your people will be about compensation.
The only loyalty they will have is to the person who pays them the most.
Think about the effect on your turnover. Think about the cost of recruiting and training new people:
- People you have to pay while they climb up the learning curve.
- People who are new to your team, so your whole team’s productivity suffers until they get to know each other and start working in sync.
- People who don’t know your customers like the people you have now. They don’t know what your customers want or how they like to be treated. So you may potentially lose customers because your example made money the only issue.
So set a good example and your people will follow. It leads to BIGG success!
Do you think we’re on the right track here?
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