When you’re a leader everything that you say and do matters. Your family, your colleagues, and often the general public are always watching you. Leaders are held to a higher standard and are often scrutinized for their behaviors and the things that they say. Have you ever noticed how much the words said by the President of the United States are analyzed and debated?
Even a leader’s tone of voice and physical appearance matters as well. Leaders need to be careful about how they act in front of others for it is a combination of actions, verbal language, and body language that are seen and interpreted by everyone else. As a leader you are a role model and an example for your peers. For those in leadership positions it is vitally important to think about all of these things.
Leaders Have Influence
As you may have realized, great leaders often have great influence over other people. With great influence comes great power and great responsibility as well. Leaders who have influence over their peers are able to get more done and get better results than those who can’t command a crowd. This is especially true for leaders who have public roles or for those people who spend a lot of time in front of a camera. Everything that you say and do will have an impact on those watching you especially when you have great influence. It’s important to think about what your influence is and how you want to be portrayed.
An analogy could be that of a parent and a child. Have you ever noticed how children can imitate their parents and often grow up to be just like their mother or father? A parent who says one thing but does another is sending mixed messages to their children. This is not good leadership and will not produce good results. Those that have been given influence have a great responsibility to use it wisely. To put it another way, to whom much is given, much will be required.
Leaders Set the Example
One of the best things that any leader can do is to set a good example for others. If you’re willing to do the things that you ask others to do it shows that you have integrity and character. Leaders must be willing to do anything and everything that they would ask of their followers. When the followers know that you are one of them and that you can be trusted, they will go to the end of the earth for you. Setting the right example is such an important role of a leader.
A friend of mine worked for a boss who didn’t think that punctuality was important and made it a point to leave work early on a regular basis. My friend and her coworkers watched this pattern of behavior and began to think to themselves that it was ok for to mimic their boss. Of course, I advised my friend to resist the temptation to do as her boss has done. Instead, I told her that her boss is not being a good leader and that perhaps it is a good opportunity for her to start to lead instead. She resisted following her bosses bad practices and was even able to earn some trust with one of her colleagues for stepping up when things got tough.
Leaders Have Integrity
All great leaders must have integrity. In fact, it’s pretty much required that a leader has to have integrity because otherwise his/her followers will leave. Without having integrity a leader will lose their influence, will not be trusted, and will eventually be undermined, overruled, and replaced. Having integrity means always doing the right thing. It also means being honest and having a strong character that resists negative temptations. It also helps to have good morals, good values, and to put others first. I believe that when you put others first and you become a servant leader, you’ve discovered a profound secret to being able to lead others. In any case, your behaviors, actions, and words should be a true reflection of your inner character and integrity. By applying the principles of integrity to your life you can learn to become a better leader.
Leaders Have Power
It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. This is true of pretty much all situations and organizations including small families and large corporations. Leaders have the power to change the course of history, resolve a conflict, and to bring a company out of bankruptcy . However, poor leaders can easily have the opposite effect. Poor leaders can bring an organization down sinking the ship and/or bankrupt the company. If an organization has a poor leader then it’s likely that it isn’t producing the results that it could be. Poor leaders act like dirt that has gotten into a machine causing things to slow down and work less efficiently. A poor leader will start to degrade things over time.
However, a good leader is one who exemplifies the characteristics of honesty and integrity and who truly wants to make a positive impact on their little piece of the world. Good leaders have the power to accomplish the impossible. There have been many great leaders over the years who have saved companies from bankruptcy and even turned the tides of war. In 1993 Louis Gerstner, Jr became the CEO of IBM. At the time the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. However, through Louis’ excellent leadership, the company was saved and went on to become one of the most valuable companies of the 20th century. Another great example from history is Alexander the Great. It has been said that he was such a great leader that simply having his presence at a battle was enough to guarantee a military victory. He never lost a battle.
As you can see, all leaders have to carefully think about how they act in front of others. Perhaps one easy way to stay on track is to ask yourself if what you are doing or about to do will become part of tomorrow’s gossip and rumors around the office. If you think people will talk negatively about you behind your back then you probably shouldn’t engage in that activity. In my professional life I work hard to ensure that no one ever has anything bad or negative to say about me. Of course mistakes, misunderstandings, and oversights do happen. In these cases, a good leader makes it a point to deal with them appropriately, with honesty and integrity. Your leadership skills should be such that you can step in and deal with any situation before things get worse. Remember, with great influence comes great power and responsibility.