Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. – Albert Schweitzer
If you want your teammates to come together and shoot for a common goal, then it is up to you to walk your talk, stand by your values, and live your message.
It’s called leading by example.
Leading by example is one of the most persuasive forms of influence. Consequently, it’s also the hardest principle to adhere to, because it takes monastic-level commitment to practice what you preach.
It all starts with pride.
One much-overlooked duty of a leader is to create and instill pride in your team and your team’s mission.
Lacking a sense of pride weakens the entire organization. The only way to instill pride and focus is to exhibit, at all times, pride in what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with.
Part of that means leading by example 100% of the time. This may sound extreme, but that 100% isn’t limited to working hours.
“One hundred percent” means when you’re at work, on vacation, at a party, with friends, family, or strangers, by yourself, and everywhere in between.
When you go full throttle on this principle, it takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out when you “need to” and “don’t need to” be a leader. There’s never a question of when you should let off the gas.
When to apply? Whenever you’re on stage. When are you on stage? When anyone can see you.
Your actions will speak louder than your words ever could.
If you’re not feeling particularly proud at this moment, if you don’t yet possess total pride; display it outwardly anyway. Sometimes we have to act ourselves into new ways of thinking.
Trust me, it can be done. That “fake it til you make it” saying doesn’t hang around because it’s not true.
Our mirror neurons recreate in our brains what we see others doing. If we see others smiling, confident, proud, and positive, it’s literally contagious. Science says so.
And even if they aren’t as genuine as we’d like, our smiles and positivity ricochet off others, who reverberate our good vibes back to us, creating a positivity loop.
One easy way to kickstart this positivity loop? When someone asks you how you’re doing, don’t reply with a low-energy “I’m good.” Instead hit them with a solid “Outstanding!” It’ll throw you both off guard because you just sound so damn pleased with yourself. (Trust me. It might sound cringey as you’re reading this. But I dare you to commit to this for just one day. You will notice a difference in your energy levels and the energy levels of those around you.)
So how does one create a culture of pride? By deciding on which principles you want your organization to be recognized for.
We’re not talking about a “mission statement,” we’re talking about a consistent set of values that your team lives by.
The 5 must-have values for a successful team
Chisel these into your granite tablet Moses, ’cause they’re your new commandments now.
We don’t define positivity as annoying, peppy, head-in-the-clouds, manic-cheer energy.
That makes people want to throw up.
We define positivity by the willingness to help, the confidence in our ability to add value, the search for lessons to be taken from both good and bad situations, and the gratitude for receiving those lessons.
When you’re part of a team that is committed to supporting one another, that energy is irresistibly infectious.
2. Open communication
Listening to and valuing the inputs and ideas of others is the path to open communication between people.
When others feel like they’re being heard and acknowledged, they’re more inclined to speak their minds.
Inefficient and insecure leaders fear this, while great leaders welcome the contributions of others.
You naturally want to help the people you like and care about.
When you encourage a positive atmosphere and open communication, cooperative teamwork becomes a natural side effect.
When people are good to each other and honest with each other, it creates a bond of trust. Where there is trust, there is teamwork.
When combined; positivity, open communication, and teamwork produce a powerful force.
When you find a group of people who are happy to be there, who are unafraid of communication, and who are excited to work with each other; that’s when loyalty happens.
When a group welcomes you with positive energy, trust, and an attitude of, “we’re all in this together,” your eagerness to hang on to those good feelings will invite you to become a loyal member.
Encourage your teammates to speak with a sense of ownership. (“My company.” “My team.” “My project.”)
“Never underestimate the power of a sincere service attitude. Help other people get what they want. Serve and you will succeed.” – Zig Ziglar
Every aspect of a leader’s job boils down to one point. If, at any time, you’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing, ask yourself this question: “Am I helping my team right now?”
This is my all-time favorite leadership quote:
“The good leader carries water for his people.” – Laozi
A good leader does whatever it takes for their team to be successful. If they need water to accomplish the goal, go get them water.
A servant leader asks their teammates what THEY need in order to be the best at their jobs. And then that servant leader works to provide their teammates everything they need.
That’s how you all move ahead together, faster, stronger.
How can you tell if you’re fostering pride within the group and helping others to feel the same? Simply by asking yourself, “Am I proud of what we’re trying to accomplish?” Of course the answer should be a hearty, “HELL YEAH!” If it’s not, then you will never be able to effectively rally your troops.
“Am I proud of this?” is a question that you and your crew should be regularly asking of yourselves, both as a group and as individuals. If someone isn’t feeling proud of how they’re doing something, they will be able to express that in a cultural atmosphere of positivity and trust.
So, why is a post about leading by example focusing on the importance of pride? Because it’s obvious who is and is not proud of themselves.
When you’re not proud, that means you’re not living in alignment with your values, which results in a feeling of shame. People are proud when they’re practicing what they believe in.
Figure out what it is you value.
Your values are your foundation.
Those who share your values will gravitate to you.
Act accordingly, and others will follow.
It’s up to you and your team to decide how to build from there.
Lead by example.
When do you do it? All the time.
When do you stop? Never.