Written for TakeON! by Maggie Judge of Insight Advisor Group
One basic definition of leadership is intentional influence of others. How a leader goes about doing that becomes a lifelong pursuit.
My favorite quote by Mahatma Gandhi is: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. In this story from the 1930s, Gandhi offers a brilliant example of the power of leading by example.
There was a young boy who had become addicted to and obsessed with eating sugar. His mother decided to get help and took the long journey with her son, walking many miles under the scorching sun, until she finally reached Gandhi. She asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar because it wasn’t good for his health. Gandhi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a few weeks and then I will talk to him.” The mother was confused and upset and took the boy home.
14 days later mother and son returned. This time Gandhi looked directly at the young man and said, ”Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.” The youth nodded his head and promised he wouldn’t. The mother was puzzled. She asked, “Why didn’t you tell him that a fortnight ago when I brought him here to see you?” Gandhi smiled and said, “Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”
How closely does what you ask of your team (your words) align with what you do (your actions)?
Challenge yourself to changing some actions you wouldn’t want your team members to emulate!