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Learning by Example

| November 29, 2016

by Jim Bruce

In the November 1, 2016 Tuesday Reading, Always on Stage, readers were invited to respond to the question
What’s the most important, or effective, way you lead by example?
Some 39 readers replied with 139 responses.  All of these responses can be found here.  I’ve included a group of responses below that I found to be particularly insightful and I trust that you might as well:
Put the big rocks in the basket first.

                        – Lori A. Cottrill, The Pennsylvania State University

Have empathy and caring for your team member’s personal lives.

                                    – Melanie Phillips, Michigan State University

It is better to say, “I don’t know the answer” than to say “I think the answer is…”  There are lots of experts who actually know the answer.

                                                          – Vijay Menta, Yale University

Don’t underestimate the power of humility and appreciation.

                            – Chris Ritzko, The Pennsylvania State University

Show up, work your hours, be engaged, care about outcomes.

                                      – Sandra W Thompson, Indiana University

Make people feel safe to venture into the unknown.

                                      – Judy Joy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Treat everyone with respect, just as you would want to be treated.

               – Tron Compton-Engle, Case Western Reserve University

Frequently ask, what did I/we learn.

                      – C. David Scronce, University of California, Berkeley

Be a team player.

             – Veronica Longnecker, The Pennsylvania State University

Listen attentively to understand problems and solutions.

                                                                                                  – Anon

Smile, it goes a long way in bringing positive energy into a room or situation.

                                   – Steven M. Gunzberg, University of Maryland

“When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”  

             – A Jack Welch quote from Harley R. Myler, Lamar University

We are one team.

                                      – Michael I. Popko, University of Pennsylvania

Do NOT assume – ask questions to clarify.

                                                   – Marie Thérèse Durr, Boston College

Never waste another’s time.

                               – Amanda Caffrey, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Own up to my mistakes.

                                                          – Shanna Gilberg, Boston College

Treat people with consistency and fairness.

                                                         – Maria Curcio, Harvard University

Push beyond your comfort zone.

                                                  – Michael McCaw, New York University

Work hard, and find balance.                                          

                                                                                                      – Anon

Share the knowledge.

                                     – Dan Hearn, Case Western Reserve University

Be fair and do the right thing.

                                  – Mark Boudreau, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Get up and go deal with the problem.

                                                                                                        – Anon

Be fully present when engaging people so they are more fully present with me.

                                          – Jim Deziek, Coach, MOR Leaders Programs

Give the honest and complete answer, even if it means losing face or it’s not the answer that the other party wants to hear.

                               – Jim Hurst, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Recognize that my knowledge is incomplete and ask questions to include more prospectives than just my own.

                          – Anne Marie Richard, University of California, Berkeley

As I noted in the November 1 essay, a leader is always on the stage.  You cannot know everyone who will use your behavior as a model to follow.  Think about it.  Be very mindful of the examples you are setting.
If you are having difficulty developing your own answers to the question “What’s the most important, or effective, way you lead by example?,” perhaps you will fine these examples, as well as the longer list (which you can find here) helpful.  Knowing the examples youwant to and want not to set will improve how you show up and how you become more influential.  If you haven’t thought about this recently, perhaps you should take some time to reflect on the topic soon.
Make it a great week.  .  .  .    jim
Jim Bruce is a Senior Fellow and Executive Coach at MOR Associates, and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, and CIO, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.