I walked down the row of cubes. Someone from my team grabbed me. “They did it again.”, they said. We had another team that we worked with. We didn’t see eye to eye. We didn’t have mutual respect. It seemed each team thought the other team was a bunch of idiots. I got fired up. I’m insulted the other team. I’m sure I “should” all over them. – They should do this, They should do that. I’m damn certain I cursed. I’m sure I poured gasoline on the fire. The fire burned higher. The problem did, too.
I spread the wrong example across my team. I showed we could be justified. We could be right. They could be wrong. We could dig our heels into the problem. It didn’t help us solve the problem. It just exacerbated the problem. My team was angrier. The other team was more indignant. The problem between the teams existed before I was there. My example made it worse.
After I’d give my bad example, I’d look to cultivate a solution. I made things much harder on me and my team. I apologize to my team and the team we had the issue with. I was wrong.
Yesterday, I wrote about leading by example. I spoke about how I unwittingly followed the example of a trainer I was working with. It was a small mannerism of putting my hands in my pockets. A small habit. Most habits start off small.
We follow examples. Even when they’re the wrong example. There were examples I was given that led me to curse and scream when I was frustrated with a situation. I followed them. There were examples I was given to put my hands in my pockets. I followed them.
Human beings naturally mirror the behaviors of the people they interact with. Start nodding your head ‘yes’ while you speak, you’ll notice the person you’re talking will nod soon enough. This is a trick that sales people will use to get you to agree. You’d think it wouldn’t work. It does.
We are often unaware of what we follow. It becomes very important to become aware of who we follow. Choose the right leader to follow, you’ll follow their example. Choose the wrong leader to follow, you’ll follow your example.
It’s said that our lives are shaped by the 5 closest people we surround ourselves with. Why? We follow each other.
Is your career or life going a direction you don’t like? Maybe you’re choosing the wrong leader.
Where do you want to finish? Choose leaders that lead you there. Follow the leader.
An old friend let me know that I used to put my hands in my pockets before. Thank you, Michelle for calling me out on my new habit being an old one reborn. Way to keep me honest!
- Developing leaders in business (paulmccannma.wordpress.com)
- Do you lead by example? (ericwarheit.com)
- Building Better Teams (leadingonpurpose.org)