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Lead by Your Actions

Successful role modelling is more than just words

Role modelling, or leading the way, is a very important and significant element of leadership.

Let’s take a minute to look at how your actions and behaviours impact on those you lead. It’s a lot like responsible parenting.

Children in functional family units grow up and mature as a pretty reliable reflection of how they have been raised. Parents, carers, teachers, and those people children and adolescents spend a lot of time with are responsible, often unconsciously, for moulding the youngsters around them.

I’m sure you are familiar with concepts and sayings like: 

“he’s a chip off the old block”, or

“the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

And so too it is with people you lead on a daily or regular basis.

As a leader, as a person of significant influence, your actions and behaviours absolutely impact the people you lead – and others in your orbit. As a frontline leader you need to be acutely aware of the messages you send by your actions and behaviours.

What you do and how you do it says a lot about you, how you think about things and what’s important to you – and what’s important “around here”. Walking the talk means don’t just say it, do it. Lead by example. And that means you not only have to be constantly aware of your actions and behaviours, you also need to identify which of your actions and behaviours you need to change in order to more positively influence your team.

A simple example of leadership behaviour that can be addressed to effect change across your team is punctuality. If you often turn up late for meetings or appointments you are sending the message to everyone around you, particularly the people you lead, that its okay to arrive late. If it’s okay for you as the leader then its okay for them to also not respect start times. It says that punctuality isn’t important around here.

As Carolyn Taylor says in her excellent leadership book  *walking the talk:

“If you intend to take any position of leadership (on culture) you will have to become a role model of what you are seeking to create.”

walking the talk implies that the behaviours of you as a leader will drive the behaviours of your team. As the leader you will set the boundaries and the standards that others follow.

Carolyn goes on to say:

“For things to change first I must change”.


So, what actions and behaviours do you need to change, and why are they important?

Take action now:                                           

Using the worksheet, list any of your actions and behaviours that you think should be addressed – or changed - to send more positive messages to your team. Be sure to identify not only the action or behaviour, but also why changing it is important, what effect it will have.


* Carolyn Taylor, Walking the Talk, Random House U.K., 2015

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