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The late, great baseball player Joe DiMaggio is noted as saying, “A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.”

I imagine Joe DiMaggio knew what he was talking about. His example made him a leader on the New York Yankees during his entire 13-year baseball career.  During that 13-year career he won the MVP trophy 3 times and was on the Major League All-Star Team each of those 13 seasons.

Due to his ability and his leadership, he was named to the All-Century team. He was elected to the Major League Hall of Fame in 1955.

Whether you’re head of a large corporation, a charity or head of your family, the best way to lead is by example. Leading by example builds trust and admiration. As a result, you can easily get much more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. It’s especially helpful for team leaders to lead by example so they can rally and inspire the group to greater accomplishment.

As a leader, do you lead by your example?

No matter who you are leading, here are a few ways to lead by example:

1 – Watch your words.

While actions speak louder than words, you still need to watch what you say. Words can have a serious impact on morale and enthusiasm. One harsh word said in haste can deflate the entire organization or team. A few words from a leader can discourage a team and make it difficult for them to show support and meet goals.

Instead, make it a focus to spend more time complimenting that criticizing. Make your speech words of encouragement. Doing this will allow your team to find refreshment in your words instead of cowering to them.

There are times to critique, but if you are always on the negative, your team will always expect the worst.

2 – Honor the chain of command.

In everyone corporation, business and even in your family there is a “chain of command.” The chain of command has to do with decisions and getting the team on the right track. There are tough decisions made by the chain of command from time to time.

In your position as a leader, you may not agree with some of the decisions handed down from the upper chain of command. Remember, you must always respect it to set a good example. Otherwise, confusion and chaos may occur, and the structural elements of the team will begin to fall apart.

3 – Do the work you ask of others.

Have you ever had a person above you on the chain of command dictate your actions without knowing what you are to do? I am sure everyone has.

As a leader, it is important for you to understand the role of people in your organization. I do not believe you must understand every detail, but you do need to understand the roles. Remember the TV Show “Undercover Boss?” The leaders on that show went to work as normal employees and many of them, if not all, had eye-opening experiences. They learned the jobs of their employees and it changed their outlook.

Leaders need to be willing to serve front of the team and not dictate from the back.

4 – Be ready to pitch in when needed and even when you aren’t.

I once heard that your servants towel needs to be bigger than your ego.

Serving your team shows that you are a member. While you may be a leader, you are a leader that is willing to help bear the burden.

Serving with your team builds trust and confidence. You’ll also gain knowledge and learn some skills that you may not be privy to if you’re constantly giving orders.

5 – Develop sensitivity and take special interest in others.

Pay attention to your team. Not everyone will always be on track every day and as a leader your attention to this detail will help the entire team.

Remember that everyone has a bad day. You should be sensitive to those days when your employee or subordinate just isn’t doing the job up to par. Rather than showing criticism, show sensitivity.

Also, make others on your team feel special and compliment often, when possible. Remember to spend more time complimenting instead of criticizing.

6 – Be prudent in choosing your battles.

This is HUGE! It many not seem that way at the time, but every battle does not need to be fought, or even fought wide-open. Don’t concentrate your efforts on the little conflicts which arise among team members. Instead, put your efforts into the more important decisions which must be made.

If you put all your efforts into dealing with small fires, you will be too exhausted to deal with the bigger decisions that must be made. I have seen too many leaders be constantly burdened with the minor things that they lose the major decisions.

Do not drain your abilities on the minor but focus on the major.

7 – Listen.

Remember the point on paying attention? This involves listening.

Do not just hear the words, but listen to them.

As a leader, it’s your job to know what’s going on at all times.  Don’t be so busy giving orders and guidance that you miss listening to your team members and hear the advice they offer. Even though you may be an expert in what you do, you can’t know everything. There may be a few good team members who can teach you a thing or two and provide great feedback about your team.

8 – Don’t take your team for granted.

One of the biggest team killers is to take your team for granted. When this happens the appreciate for each individual person gets lost.

Your team makes you look good – so never take one or all of them for granted but consider each as an important asset to what you desire to accomplish. Also, assume (until you’re shown differently) that each person on the team is a good and honest person who you can trust and rely on.

Final Thoughts

When you strive to set a good example for others, you won’t go wrong in your life’s choices. As a leader in your position, whether in business, church, community or family, others want to see you lead.

As a leader, your example matters. You can make a difference, but others need to see you making a difference by the example you set.

To your success,