Lead By Example Others Will Follow

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We’ve all worked for this person:

The director who tells everyone they have to work hard to reach their targets and then leaves to play golf.

The manager who calls down staffers for not keeping regular office hours and then says, “I’ll be working from home for the rest of the week.”

The executive who freezes salaries and then attends a conference at an expensive resort.

These people may be leaders in the technical sense of the word, but they aren’t inspiring anyone or earning respect. That’s why the gold standard of leadership is leading by example.

When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you. Here’s how to make sure you’re on the right track

You don’t take anything for granted. Always show gratitude—for the work that’s being done and for the talent and commitment behind it.

You keep your eye on the ball. Concentrate on the goals you have set for yourself as well as for those around you.

You maintain an optimistic spirit. Good cheer is contagious, and orienting yourself to see the bright side influences those around you.

You take time to listen. Know that listening is at core of great leadership, and give your people the consideration of hearing them out without interruptions or distractions.

You notice, acknowledge, and connect. Always acknowledge people for what they do. And when the opportunity arises, introduce them to others when they can benefit from networking.

You never, ever gossip. Don’t initiate and don’t partake. If someone shares a rumor with the potential to undermine a co-worker, don’t comment or engage. Stop it in its tracks.

You stay out of office politics. As difficult as it may be, avoid choosing sides in office disputes. Take part in conversations that deal with issues but not those that dissect personalities.

You dress for success. Always dress a level better than what others might expect of you. Look the part and create an image that others can respect.

You respect other people’s time. Return calls and e-mails promptly; start and end meetings on time.

You are open to opinions. Listen graciously even in disagreement. Lean forward and show you are interested.

You are tactful. Before you offer a suggestion, acknowledge the others that have been brought forward. Replace but with and.

You show interest. Pay attention to those around you and take note of their time, their work, and their responsibilities.

You involve others. Make them feel involved—share strategies and let them know their ideas and work matter.

You model the way. Demonstrate the behavior you expect from others. Know that they are looking to you for cues about how to act.

If you are in a leadership position, it’s up to you to be accountable. Everyone is looking to you for guidance and strength; that is part of what being a leader is.

Lead From Within: When you lead by example, you create a vision of what is possible for others. They can lead by example, too, once you show them how it’s done.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Vikas Saxena

    30. Sep, 2014

    Hi Lolly !

    Your post : ‘Lead By Example Others Will Follow”, is absolutely highly commendable. I affirm my assertion of endorsement of each and every point you have made in your post.

    Respect should never be demanded. Respect should always be commanded.This holds true in any walk of life, including personal and professional.

    Be one a manager or a leader, or in any position of authority, responsibility, or influence, the points you have made are maxims and deserve to be underscored.

    Even at the risk of my commendation to be misconstrued as an adulation, both, somewhere and everywhere along the line, I find, that, in each and every post of yours, I see a very strong of reflection of my views, beliefs, and principles. This is a truthful and an unequivocal salutation.

    The reasons are pure and simple : Experientially speaking, as a professional, I have discovered, that, these are undebatable. Also, the followers of successful managers and leaders will vouch the veracity of the same.

    I am certain you will continue to enrich guys like me with such expositions from time to time, and I look forward to the same, every now and then.

    My best wishes at all times. Thanks very much too.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bill Benoist

    30. Sep, 2014

    Great List, Lolly!

    Although I cannot add anything additional, I would like to acknowledge you as someone I have found who lives by these truths and walks their talk.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Sep, 2014


      Bill you are a leader who leads by example and that is why I admire you so much.

      Thanks for your comment.


      Reply to this comment
  3. lollydaskal

    30. Sep, 2014

    You are right when you say; “Respect should never be demanded. Respect should always be commanded.This holds true in any walk of life, including personal and professional.”

    Thanks for sharing.


    Reply to this comment
  4. LaRae Quy

    30. Sep, 2014

    Great list, Lolly!

    As I read them, this was the thought that came to me: leaders need to be consistent. If they say one thing, and then do another, they are not being consistent and they immediately lose credibility.

    Whether leaders think other team members are too stupid to notice, or if they don’t care—I don’t know…but they are not examples any of us want to follow…

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      30. Sep, 2014

      So true LaRae
      When leaders are not consistent there is a price to pay – and the price is your leadership.

      Thanks so much for your added wisdom. Always appreciate reading it.


      Reply to this comment
  5. Terri Klass

    30. Sep, 2014

    All great items on your list!

    The item I really loved was: “You notice, acknowledge, and connect.” I oftentimes see leaders that never get to the “connect” part because they fear that people will take over their hard worked network. Just the opposite is true. By showing our support network a great and talented leader only helps us show our abilities to recognize gifted leaders. Sharing outstanding leaders with others is developing future leadership.

    Thanks for another great post, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Dawood Chishti

    30. Sep, 2014

    Truth of your words lies in your actions. Lolly, once again it’s radiating.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Syndi Irvin

    30. Sep, 2014

    Great list. A must share.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Panteli Tritchew

    01. Oct, 2014

    This is a great list for leaders to use as a metric for their leadership and their character. The traits you list are not always easily achieved; they take 1) time, 2) attention and 3) concentration. Ironically, these are three things of which the universe provides an infinite supply, yet most of us feel we don’t have the first, so we don’t employ the second and third.

    Equally ironically, if leaders took the time to follow the do’s on your list, they wouldn’t have time to do the don’ts!
    P.S. Sorry to miss LFW chat last night due to meeting conflict!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      01. Oct, 2014


      You were missed last night! Just wanted you to know.

      And you are so right if we took the list as a to do list. We would be the kind of leader that not only respected but one we can respect within ourselves.


      Reply to this comment
  9. Ben

    01. Oct, 2014

    Great list, Lolly. My favorite is #10 “model the way” Demonstrate the behavior you expect from others. Know that they are looking to you for cues about how to act.

    It reminds me of “be the change you want to see” from Gandhi. Lots of power in this.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Deb Pittam

    01. Oct, 2014

    So true Lolly – great summary

    Reply to this comment
  11. Solomon Kamenju

    03. Oct, 2014

    i a nut shell leadership is about character and self discipline, its more of being a religious believer of the policies and the companies vision. Play the role of a preacher and the hope provider, let others follow your perfect example.

    Solomon Kamenju.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Daymond

    03. Oct, 2014

    Hello Lolly

    Outstanding Truth. Some bosses who demand sacrifices but [email protected] don’t sacrifice themselves.

    Integrity is crucial to almost every kind of relationship: business, co-workers, family, friends.

    Useful tracks to follow-up, thanks.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Dawood Chishti

    04. Oct, 2014

    Even in the naval environments every naval officer is a leader in his knowledge, skills and above all in his actions. He is supposed to take initiatives and lead from the front so to gain the dignity of his command. He is a role model for his subordinates and a source of satisfaction for his seniors.
    In competitive business one has to be more alert and sensitive in his attitude and actions to exhibit an exemplary leadership.
    Lolly, it’s my honour to learn from your every prestigious post.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Michael Lapointe

    17. Oct, 2014

    “You stay out of office politics.” There may be situations where the office politics is so bad (toxic) that you may have to use positive office politics for the good of the company. Not using any positive politics will ultimately put you at the bottom of the total pole in some negative environments.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Kevin Ericson

    19. Nov, 2014

    Nice list!!! Simple & easy to implement!!!!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Waseem Sufi

    14. Dec, 2014

    Valuable information – Thank you for sharing!

    Reply to this comment
  17. Ifeanyi

    13. Aug, 2016

    Amazing post! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Jenny

    08. Dec, 2016

    awesome! you should write for http://www.forbes.com/

    Reply to this comment
  19. Tim Yako

    02. Nov, 2017

    This is an awesome writeup. Love it!
    Permit me to share.

    Reply to this comment

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