Leaders lead by example, whether they intend to or not

Leader lessons 1st v2Leaders lead by example, whether they intend to or not

I’ve had various conversations this week about values and personal integrity. I wondered today, how do we REALLY keep in check with our leadership behaviour?

There’s been lots of talk in the press about public bodies like the police, border agency and numerous others where there seem to be mixed messages. On one hand there are leaders communicating ‘integrity’ as a key value, (that makes sense to me, particularly as the public sector have the Nolan Principles), then of course some of their staff do not behave in line with this. How can you SAY you have values of integrity and then at the same time be found to be corrupt and dishonest?

I’ve had quite a few conversations with different leaders about well-being in the last few months, it strikes me that all behaviour, whatever that is, role models a message to staff, clients, partners and others. I mean what leadership behaviour are you role modelling when you:

  • Don’t eat all day because you haven’t got time
  • Don’t take break because you haven’t got time or have said yes to so much there’s no room left for you to take care of you
  • Misunderstand or miss vital pieces of the picture because you’re so driven to get onto the next thing (as you’ve got so much to do)
  • Forget meetings or run late for most of them because you’ve squeezed you’re day so tight there’s little room for the unexpected

How can we possibly be at our best to lead or advise clients when we are not even taking care of our basic needs?

I wonder if staff, clients and others will see this and go away thinking this is a successful work life. Will the message be: work top of the list – my physical and emotional needs at the bottom.

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear them!


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