Lead by example is my personal philosophy. I learned this lesson as a young officer. After I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, the Army sent me to a six-month course.
The purpose of the Officer Basic Course was to develop and train newly commissioned officers to perform their wartime duties.
During the course, we learned about the systems and equipment we would use to perform our duties. We also learned basic soldiering and leadership skills. Each week we were expected to master a specific skill.
I remember the first week was about the correct way to wear our uniforms. We spent hours upon hours learning the proper way to display our rank, badges, and ribbon. At night, my friends and I would meet in my room with our rulers and the Army uniform regulation to “put our uniform together.”
At the end of the week, we experienced our first uniform inspection. My friends and I were excited and nervous. We had stayed up most of night checking every measurement.
After our instructor finished his inspection, we were moved into the classroom for a debrief. For the next 30 minutes, our instructor lectured us on the importance of wearing our uniform with pride. He explained as the leader of our organization, everyone would take their cue from us.
He told us the leader sets the standards for the organization. Therefore, our soldiers would follow our examples as their leaders. As I sat there listening to my instructor, I decided my leadership philosophy would be “to lead by example.”
In his book the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell stated, “people buy into the leader, then the vision.” While wearing the uniform properly may seem insignificant, it was a critical part of getting my soldiers to buy-in to me as their leader. To be an effective leader, I needed to earn the trust and confidence of my soldiers.
Over the years, I have had the privilege to lead many different organizations. Every time I moved to a different position, I remembered the words of my Officer Basic Course instructor of “lead by example.”
How can you lead by example? Karima Mariama-Arthur offers the following six tips for leading by example:
- Showcase excellence
- Deliver results
- Value people and relationships
- Promote strategic cooperation
- Address conflict quickly and effectively
- Develop and support others
Do you lead by example?
Dr. Kim Moore, equipping, guiding, and coaching you for leadership!
Dr. Kim Moore
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