Back to Basics

While writing these posts I have been trying to think in depth about certain leadership issues that are not usually thought of or often discussed, and while I have brought up some issues that are very important it is still important to remember the basics. For me the number one rule of any leader, and one of the most often discussed leadership subjects is to lead by example. In my opinion this is the cardinal rule of leadership and can make or break any leaders tenure. If you are not willing to do what you ask of your subordinates than they will not be willing to do it either.

This is a leadership theme that is at the heart of almost any leadership discussion, and the effects of choosing whether or not to follow it are evident almost everywhere. The most recent example I can think of once again is a story from my fraternity. This past semester before we were told that we were being suspended we had been put on probation for nearly two years resulting from incidents the previous semester. Between the time of our probation and our suspension are president and alumni were trying their hardest to keep morale in the house high so that people would be willing to live in the following year. A lot of the older guys including myself were skeptical as to whether or not we would have a house and went ahead and signed contracts to live out. A lot of the younger guys in the house were unsure whether or not to live out and were on the fence. For a period of time they followed our president who kept telling them that it is their responsibility to live in as the younger guys.

One day without anyone knowing however our president went ahead and signed a contract to live out with some other people. When news of this came back to the chapter, everyone jumped ship. The younger guys were doing everything in their power to get out of their contracts so that they could live out. This eventually led our housing corp to decide that the house would close the following year regardless of the Universities decision, since it would be to far under capacity to keep open. In hindsight none of this matters since we ultimately got shut down by the university, but had we not our presidents poor leadership and failure to lead by example would have resulted in the house shutting down. The second everyone else found out he was living out they all decided they would also. This was devastating to morale in the house, as he was supposed to be someone we all looked up to, and to use a cheesy metaphor, the last to go down with the ship. Instead he jumped ship as soon as things became unclear causing the rest of the crew to do the same.

This is just one example of the disastrous implications that come from a leader who does not lead by example. It is imperative that if you plan on leading people in any organization whether it be the military, corporate world, or a fraternity, you be ready to do anything you ask of them.

***Below are a couple of articles about leaders who chose to lead by example and the positive impact it had***

http://www.forbes.com/sites/oreillymedia/2014/04/13/leading-by-example-two-stories/

http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2011/01/my-favorite-leadership-by-example-story-ever-powerful.html

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