If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
We’ve all heard the saying “Lead by example.” But do we really (I mean really) practice it?
My kids reminded me about this the other day when they were yelling at each other. I yelled at them to stop. What’s with that? How will they ever listen to me, if I don’t display a good example?
This is true in many areas of our lives:
- We expect our employees/volunteers to put in many hours, but we often leave work at 5pm sharp…every day.
- We force our kids into sports programs, while we sit on the sidelines watching and munching on Doritos
- We say we should be open and honest, yet we hide our true identity from other
- We say it’s good to serve our fellow man in our community, but are reluctant to get involved
- We complain about how our schools, cities and governments are run, but make no attempt to facilitate change
- We smoke, drink and party, but tell our kids it is not good for them
- We tell our kids it’s good to read, but we never pick up a book
- We tell our kids to get off the computer, iPod or phone, but we never put ours down
- We say we love others, but we are judgmental and critical
Sound familiar? I am not being judgemental. We are all human and not perfect. We all mess up sometimes. However, we sometimes continue to repeat actions over and over, with no thought of the repercussions on our children, volunteers, employees and friends.
This rang true for me during the worst time in my depression. While researching depression, I came across a site that said 20% of 10 year olds with parents that suffer from depression, will themselves suffer from depression by the time they are age 15. That scared me. I didn’t want this for my kids! So, I had to take action.
I lead volunteers at my place of work. I wouldn’t earn their respect if I sat around all day drinking coffee, playing on my phone and telling them what to do. I find BEING a volunteer helps me LEAD volunteers. Not only do I put in volunteer hours where I work, I also serve at church, my children’s school and in other areas of my community. We can learn so much by being led by others, rather than always being the leader. I have!
If you don’t consider yourself a leader, examine your life. You may not be a manager, pastor or CEO, but most of us are leaders in some way. For example, are you a mom or a dad? You lead your children.
How are you leading through your example?