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I feel very strongly and passionately about great leadership. It is a privilege to lead a team or a group of people towards success in the workplace, the community, or just on an assignment. With that privilege comes a responsibility — a responsibility to lead, guide, direct, praise, course correct, inspire, challenge, celebrate, inform, provide feedback, grow, self-reflect … and more; however, I believe one of the most crucial responsibilities is to BE THE EXAMPLE.

The leader is always on stage! The spotlight follows your every move. A microphone broadcasts your every word. A camera captures your body language, expressions, looks, and appearance. Oh yes — you are definitely on stage at all times. Are you broadcasting the right messages and principles to your team? Your credibility as a leader depends on it.

Leadership is hard stuff; however, the difficulty multiplies if you are not setting the example. A leader can hardly expect their team members to treat each other with respect if they do not demonstrate the same level of respect in their dealings with the team and business partners. The team will absolutely follow the leader’s lead.

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RETAIL LEADERS of all levels speak volumes on what matters most every day in stores. Do you allow a customer to walk by you without acknowledging them or offering assistance? Really? Never? Yes you do. We all do it as we are heading to the stockroom or while on the phone or in the middle of an important conversation with another manager. What have we told the store team when we do that? They saw it. Believe me … they saw it.

I challenge each of you to hold up a mirror to yourself today and examine what messages you are sending. Are you the example of leadership that you want to be? Are you the example of leadership that you need to be for your teams? Take this responsibility very seriously and you will seize a higher level of leadership.

Let me know what you see in the mirror.

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February 2011
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