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June 2010

5 Ways to Lead by Example - Look to Mother

By the age of 20 you likely have developed the core values by which you'll live your life.   Today is my niece Dana’s 20th birthday and she has become a lovely, centered, self-motivated and compassionate young woman.  She’s already a leader.   

And, this Mother’s Day week in particular it got me thinking about what an incredible mother my sister has been, instilling that admirable sense of self and value in both of her children.  And, how she became that mother is in large part because of the amazing example set by our mother.   

It also got me thinking about whether we realize it or not, we are setting examples every day, in our businesses, careers and lives.   But, since many times the focus is squarely on Moms_leading what’s in front of us on that given day, we don’t realize the potential impact and influence, large and small, we may have on the people in our lives.   

Think back to your own school life, or when you were beginning your career.  Those pivotal people will come to mind who’ve made a difference for you – the small gesture, the encouraging comment, the sense of knowing that the person had your back or your best interest at heart in that given moment. 

You have done this in other’s lives already, you just may not be aware of when or how.   It could be a fleeting encounter or a day-to-day relationship, you have made an impact.

There will, of course, be some negative comments or gestures that have stayed with you as well, and you certainly remember those people, but in a very different light.  The teacher who discouraged you (sadly it happens), the boss or co-worker who belittled you, the parent who disregarded you.  It's interesting how quickly they come to mind.

But, the good news is you have a choice, from here on out, to create the influence and make the impact you want to make.  As leaders in your own lives, what kind of example are you setting?  

Here are some things to keep in mind:  

  • Be compassionate – lead every conversation with your heart
  • Pay attention – be truly present each day, in each situation with each person
  • Listen with all of you – make full eye contact and keep your focus on, not only the words being spoken, but also the body language of the person.  Opening up your own body to listening put others at ease to speak freely.
  • Give praise – nothing encourages like genuine praise.  Remember to give credit loudly and honestly.
  • Be real – give honest and loving opinions and advice that will truly help rather than just make you look good.  Sometimes it won’t be the most popular opinion, but it may very well be a game and mindset changer in that person’s life.

So, in honor of that sense of mother in all of us, take the time to lead by example and make a difference in someone’s life.