Why We Should All Lead by Example

We’ve all heard the phrase “lead by example.” Basically, it means that if we want someone to do something, we need to be willing to model that activity, mindset, or behavior. This concept is especially important when it comes to promoting responsibility in youth.

When you lead by example, you are using a powerful tool to encourage, nurture, empower, and establish expectations. For example, see how modeling promotes integrity, as illustrated in the following:

The owner of a grocery store hired a teenager to watch the store on Saturday mornings. One Saturday, the owner returned unexpectedly and took some carrots to feed the rabbits outside of the store. Before leaving with the carrots, the owner placed money for the carrots on the cash register.

Young people are watching what adults do every day. Then they copy that behavior. The more they do a certain behavior, the more it becomes a habit or way of life.

Reflective Questions can Help You Lead by Example

Since young people grow by the decisions they make, suggest they ask themselves reflective questions, such as:

  • “How can I prevent that urge from directing my behavior?”
  • “What would be the best way to handle this situation?”
  • “How can I best respond to that?”

Lead by example and model this reflective question asking process yourself. One of the goals of such questions is to take control of self-talk. By taking conscious control of self-talk, we can be empowered. This is a significant concept to practice and teach. As I have written in the opening to my first book, “Life is a conversation, and the most influential person you talk with all day is yourself. And what you tell yourself has a direct influence on your behavior, your performance, and your influence on others. In fact, a good case can be made that your self-talk creates your reality.”

Think of fear. That’s self-talk.

Think of anxiety. That’s self-talk.

Tip: When you model how to control these things and how to make responsible choices, you empower today’s youth to be more responsible citizens.