In The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day, John C. Maxwell applies the 21 Laws of Leadership to Biblical stories to illustrate some very good points. In the chapter, “The Law of Picture,” he uses the story of Elijah and Elisha to illustrate how effective mentorship is done. In the biblical story, Elisha gives up everything to follow Elijah, the great prophet of Israel, learning from his example. After Elijah died, he became a great prophet himself, doing some of the same things that Elijah did. The premise of Maxwell’s Law of the Picture is that PEOPLE DO WHAT PEOPLE SEE. Therefore, as leaders the example we set is of the upmost importance. There are 4 concepts that we can work on to improve the example we set:
- Remember Followers are always watching what you do.
- It’s easier to teach what’s right than to do what is right.
- We should work on changing ourselves before trying to improve others.
- The most valuable gift a leader can give is being a good role model.
FOLLOWERS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING WHAT YOU DO.
No matter the amount of followers we have (1 or 10,000) they are looking to us as their leaders to lead them. Oftentimes, your followers will imitate what you do. I remember distinctly as a kid that my dad would always tell me “Don’t Smoke,”and then go out on the deck and smoke. I didn’t turn into a chain smoker, but I did try it a few times. He was teaching me “Do as I say, NOT as I do”, and I did what he did, not what he said. Another practical example is on Social Media. We need to be very cognizant of what we post, if we have people who follow us. I remember in my early stages of my leadership journey, I didn’t realize how easy it was for people to share my posts. I posted something on my page that should have been posted to a private group and it actually ended up getting shared by a few people before I had time to take it down. That’s when I realized that truly your followers will do what you do without thinking. As leaders, we need to be careful of things we post on social media and we NEED to have good habits so our followers will DO AS WE SAY AND DO AS WE DO. They will do AS WE DO ANYWAYS, regardless of what we say. With good habits this will increase the effectiveness of the team as a whole.
IT’S EASIER TO TEACH WHAT’S RIGHT THAN TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT.
Many leaders just tell their followers what to do and don’t demonstrate their own instructions. A few years back one of my mentors, Carlos Rogers, taught me a technique to teach people how to do things in our business: the concept of TELL, SHOW, DO, GO. I love this because it’s a simple process to teach someone something. First, we tell them what to do. This means we explain in detail how to do something, and also why we do it that way. The more people can understand why something is done, the more they will internalize it. Next, we show them how to do it. After that, we let them do it and provide CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. This is used to make the person better, never to talk down or make them feel bad. Teaching/Learning is a two-way street,
so I normally ask them what they think they did well and not so well. Then I will tell them what I see that was great and what I see that needs to be worked on. After that, they are ready to do the task themselves and they can “GO.” So in relation to my organization, this is how it works. When someone gets started with our business, I set up a launch event immediately and tell them how to do an intro for the presentation (TELL). They do the introduction and I’ll do the presentation for them a few times so they can see how it’s done (SHOW). After about 3 or 4 times of seeing me present, I’ll have them do the presentation, and afterwards we have the feedback session (DO). After a few times of them doing the presentation and talking about it afterwards, they are off to the races and ready to (GO).
WE SHOULD WORK ON CHANGING OURSELVES BEFORE TRYING TO IMPROVE OTHERS.
Too many times as leaders we are too busy analyzing the shortcomings and obstacles of the ones we are mentoring and we forget that to be an effective leader and a successful modeler we MUST work on ourselves. This is all about personal development and reading. After all, LEADERS ARE READERS. A leader’s job is to be very knowledgeable on multiple topics and one of the best ways to accomplish this is to read. Not only will reading a book improve the leader’s effectiveness, it will also improve the followers. Remember your followers will watch what you do. So as they see you reading they will start to read. Some of the greatest leaders, visionaries, and mentors I know all have lists of books that they recommend to their followers. If we as leaders become readers our effectiveness and the effectiveness of those we lead will increase.
THE MOST VALUABLE GIFT A LEADER CAN GIVE IS BEING A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Be the leader that leads from the front. Be the leader that’s out there outworking all the followers. If you’re the commander of a unit and you say, “Go attack that hill,” be the first person out there and ready to fight. If you’re in sales and you expect you people to sale xxx amount of product per month be the one that sells xxxx amount of product well before the end of the month. At the core, the leader MUST do what they expect of their people. If the leaders expects their people to work 12 hours a day, the leader must be willing to work those same 12 or more hours per day. If we all lead from the front, it will show our followers that we are committed to the process and it will show them the path to success. As I’m following these incredibly strong leaders I’m seeing them work harder than me. This pushes me to work so that we all can win. When the leader is out front leading, something about that creates a synergy that lifts up the whole organization.
As a leader this is the question we should all ask ourselves: “WOULD I FOLLOW ME, AM I SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR MYSELF?” If the answer is no, we should look at the 4 characteristics of modeling and see where we can be improve so that the answer becomes yes. Remember as leaders we need to lead from the front and understand that regardless of good or bad habits, our people will DO WHAT WE DO.
If you’re interested in learning about the business and possibly joining our team, contact me.