For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Lead by example

Posted on October 26, 2017
Image of a hammer hitting a nail with the bubble comment: "I'm the Boss! That's why!"

Remember the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Well, those are not words to live by. If we want those who work for us and with us to be kind, empathetic, hard-working, etc., then we had better be kind, empathetic, and hard-working. Never did the day exist where one could truly expect those around them to perform in a certain way while they performed in another.

Think about it, this begins from birth, we modeled what our parents did, sometimes to their embarrassment, so why should it be different now. Well, the answer is, it shouldn’t be different. We must consciously look at our own work habits and behaviors to ensure we are setting good examples. Jim Clemmer, co-founder of the Clemmer Group and a best-selling author said, “Too few managers model what they demand from others. If you’re a manager, ask yourself: How often do I seem to be saying one thing while doing another? How often am I practicing what I preach?”

How does one do that? Pay attention, reflect, and if necessary ask someone. Clemmer recommends “Managers who want to stop giving out mixed signals need to hold up the leadership mirror and make sure they are satisfied with what they see being reflected back.”

While it begins with the reflective process, you may also need to ask a peer or your own manager for feedback about your leadership skills. Are you leading by example? This process should not be viewed as a negative, but rather and opportunity for growth. In fact, it should be a practice leaders do every so often – assess themselves – where are they, what needs tweaking, adjustments.

So, the next time you find yourself thinking, why are my employees doing that? - start by looking in the mirror.


Anne Converse Willkomm
Director of Graduate
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in leadership-management-skills