Common myths surrounding management and leadership which we regularly uncover and challenge on our management training courses. They’re usually handed down like old wives tales and can become mental barriers to high performance.
#1: Leading by example
“Leading by example” is one of those phrases which is easily banded about and normally generates nods of unequivocal agreement. But there are two distinctly different ways of looking at this – one is helpful, the other can ruin your success as a Manager or Leader.
The crux of it is how we understand example.
Leading by example is useful when we set how we want things done. The example is the work ethic, the care level, the dedication and the focus (on sales, quality, service, margins, punctuality, process or whatever you choose). In other words leading by example is a fundamental principal of good management and leadership when the example provides the culture.
The myth is that leading by example means doing the tasks you should be asking others to do.
This sucks your times away from the management and leadership activities which are most valuable. It turns you away from being a Manager in to an expensive operative. It can destroy authority. It shatters focus and it can even undermine you and disengage team members.
As unsurprising as it sounds then, leading by example is about ‘leading’ and ‘example’! Not, as the myth would have it, ‘doing instead’.
Challenge this myth: