Thursday, August 29, 2013

Model Behavior

By RICHARD OUTRAM from Wales (Serene Snowdon  Uploaded by PDTillman) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As a new school year begins, I have been reflecting back on many of the valuable leadership lessons I have learned over the years as a classroom teacher, administrator and athletic coach. I have been fortunate to work under and alongside some very good leaders who have all helped to shape my own leadership development. Although each of these individuals are very different in their leadership styles and personalities, the one constant among all of them is that they led by example through continuous modeling of the behaviors and character traits they expected in those under their leadership.

Whether it is in our workplace or home, all of us serve a leadership role in some fashion or another. Even if it is just one person who looks to you as a leader, mentor or role model, you are a leader nonetheless. With that being said, it is critical that we carefully consider the example we are modeling for those who look to us for leadership and guidance. If there is one thing I have learned through my experiences over the years, it is that both adults and children almost always follow the example set by the individuals that serve leadership roles in their life (i.e. parents, guardians, mentors, work place supervisors, etc...).

Thinking back on my own experiences, I must confess that I have fallen short in this area more than I care to admit; however, these failures have served as powerful learning experiences to help strengthen my leadership ability. In examining my own effectiveness as a leader, the first question I often ask myself is "What are you modeling?" This is a question we must all confront on a regular basis. If the individuals under our leadership are consistently not demonstrating the behaviors, habits or character traits we expect, we must consider the example we are modeling as a leader. More simply, if we do not like what we see, the first place to look is in mirror.

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