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Want to Influence Others? Lead by Example

lead by example I mentioned in a recent post “Health, Wealth and Moments of Clarity” how I was inspired to begin my running program after meeting someone my age on a cruise that was an aspiring triathlete. At the time I was overweight, out of shape and low on energy.

Talking with him throughout the week ignited my mental toughness and helped me see crazy dreams could still be achieved even at my age.

But it was someone much closer to me that truly provided the inspiration for me to get in shape. That person was Mrs. Luke1428. No, she wasn’t going all drill sergeant on me, screaming through a megaphone for me to roll out of bed each morning. Instead, without goading or guilting me into doing the same, she had been religiously going to a health club each week for months, getting herself in shape.

And boy, could I see the results! “Surely” I thought, “if my wife can change her physique post-four children, then so can I.”  I wanted her to be as proud of me as I was of her.

I don’t think her efforts were premeditated – like some devious reverse-psychology attempt to give me a wake-up call. She really wanted to exercise for herself. But the fallout did affect me.

Lead By Example

More and more I’m realizing the best way to motivate and influence people is to lead by example.

Berating doesn’t work.

Guilt doesn’t work.

Force doesn’t work.

Neglect, misdirection, intimidation…none of these work. Well, they may work. However, influence established with these tactics will be fleeting. It will not have a lasting impact.

Recently I posed a question to my oldest daughter. The topic – “Why are the only summer activities you and your siblings desire to do are watch TV, wrestle or play an electronic device?” (I added special emphasis to the “electronic device” part because that’s what I was agitated about at the time.) Her response surprised me but it shouldn’t have. “Well, she stated, “it seems like that’s all you and mommy do. You work on your blog and she takes her CPA classes on the computer.”

OUCH!

Leading by example is powerful.

Lead by Example and You Will Influence Others

So if you want to influence your significant other to handle money better, don’t “surprise them” by dropping $1,500 on a couch that’s not in the budget.

If you want your children to treat others with respect and kindness, then exhibit that yourself.

If you want relationships with your coworkers to improve, lob an encouraging word in their direction each day.

And if you want your kids to get outside and play this summer…well, you get it.

Questions: How are you influencing others today? Who have you seen lead by example?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: This Little Light of Mine

Prior Post: Investing Made Easy (Part IV) – How to Pick a Good Mutual Fund

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Comments

  1. I love this post Brian. This is a deep profound truth. We’ll never teach our boys to be men, until we become men ourselves.

  2. Great post! It’s amazing how much the little ones can pick up. But I guess it can be easy to miss. We’ve all had a friend or coworker whose negativity has rubbed off on us, and affected our own motivations. And in the same way our actions affect the motivations of others. Being conscious of it, sometimes is a tough thing to do, and we all make mistakes, but it’s a great lesson and one that I hope to carry on with my little one.

    • I think you are right in that we are not often aware of how our actions impact those around us. I look at my son and ask myself “Why does he do that?” And then I realize, “Oh…it’s because I do.”

  3. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    I really needed to read this Brian! It sounds like you and your wife were at where me & my wife are now. Other things work, but leading by example is one of the most powerful (if not the most) ways to motivate. Thanks for the motivation!

    • Well, we were there and still are at times. The longer I am a parent, the more I’m realizing that if I want my kids to act a certain way, I should be demonstrating that action in my own life. They truly do what they see.

  4. Great message Brian!! I have inadvertently influenced people before and didn’t even know it till someone said something to me like “I saw you were training hard in volleyball and you got your rating, so I decided to start training harder.” Something like that. But you’re right, telling someone they should just do it never works.

  5. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Wow, Brian. Great post. The great thing about kids’ blatant honesty is that it is a terrific wake-up call, isn’t it? Thanks for a wise and motivating post, my friend.

  6. Powerful message here. I love how honest kids are. It might sting, but you know you’re getting a straight shot. I’ve actually tried to be more conscious of that recently and have been putting my phone away from when I get home till my son goes to bed. It kinds of scares me how difficult it can be, but I hope the gesture rubs off.

  7. Shannon Ryan says:

    Love this post, Brian! I am a big believer in leading by example. Kids are sponges and always observing you – even when you don’t think they are paying attention – they are! My girls have rightfully called me out when they see me acting in a way that I ask them not to do themselves. Thankfully, it isn’t often 🙂 but I am human and make mistakes too.

    • Thank you! Isn’t it humbling when you get that feedback like that from your kid? Wow…what they see that we don’t even realize. Sometimes I think they know me better than I know myself.

  8. TacklingOurDebt says:

    Your post delivers so many important messages. And yes, lead by example applies to all areas of your life. Many people think it only applies to their job, but it works well at home with family as well as with friends. When people see that you are successful with something they want to know how you did it and how they can do the same. And when you treat people with respect, as mentioned, 9 times out of 10 they will do the same.

    • I agree. I want to learn from successful people what makes them great, then emulate that. I’m just naturally drawn to people who a) go the extra mile and b) don’t think they are above any given task. It’s refreshing when I see that in a person and I want to follow them.

  9. Justin @ The Family Finances says:

    So true! There’s a reason the old saying “actions speak louder than words” is still in circulation: because it’s true. When people are attacked (berated, shamed, etc) the most common response is to go on the defensive. It is so much more effective to approach people in a respectful manner. You don’t have to be all “nicey-nice”, but you do have to show people that you respect them. By actually doing what it is that you’re wanting others to do, it becomes so much easier.

    • That’s right. And when people go on the defensive, other emotions (like anger) are right around the corner. Then you’ve forced yourself into a conflict resolution session. And we know how much we enjoy those! 🙂

  10. Great words! I definitely can see the impact others have who are in authority positions when they lead by example. If someone higher-up seems to not care about their work or they waste time, it’s hard to get motivated to care about my own work or to not slack. On the other hand if someone is really encouraging me to do my best work, I pretty much always respond with enthusiasm. This happens without a second thought, too, so it’s very subconscious. I’m almost scared to have kids because of how much of an influence my own leading will have on their lives – I’m afraid to mess up!

    • I cannot count the number of times I’ve messed up with my kids. The thing about kids is that they are very resilient. But even better yet is that they are very forgiving. When I make a mistake and ask for them to forgive me, they always have and it’s like they don’t even remember the issue. I would not let fear keep you from having children. You will mess up, that’s part of being a parent. But you will learn from those mistakes and get better.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Brian from Luke 14:28 wrote a great post about leadership in Want to Influence Others? Lead by Example. […]

  2. […] And last but not least, our friend Brian over at Luke 1428 had a terrific post this week called Want to Influence Others?  Lead by Example.  I especially encourage parents to read this […]

  3. […] at Luke 1428 asked What to Influence Others? Lead by Example. So true. Words alone are not enough. But demonstrating the right behavior—now that carries […]

  4. […] Luke1428: Brian has some great thoughts here on the power of leading by example. […]

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