Thursday, May 23, 2013

LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Series Introduction

Who doesn’t want to be a more effective leader? Ironically, one of the most direct routes to leading more effectively is through being a better follower. In fact, the similarities between effective leaders and effective followers are significant. 

In Good to Great, Jim Collins describes Level 5 leadership as one of the significant factors that drives an organization from being a good organization to a truly great organization. He describes Level 5 leaders as results oriented, modest, self-effacing, and always ready to attribute success to people other than themselves. 

The greatest leaders surround themselves with great followers and give them credit. The best way to identify, attract, and direct great followers? Be one. Lead by example. 

By being a truly great follower, you model and inspire behaviors in others that increase the opportunity for success in your organization. 

In other posts, we’ll expound on seven characteristic behaviors of great followers and examples of how they build leadership:

•   Be Honest
•   Be supportive 
•   Be reliable
•   Always seek to understand the big picture
•   Ask good questions
•   Be aware of your own assumptions
•   Practice integrity
    Modeling these behaviors will not only increase your own leadership effectiveness, it will increase the effectiveness of your superiors and your direct reports. Indeed, when these behaviors are the norm in an organization, everyone is more effective, everyone’s job is easier, and everyone is happier. 

    For more information on leadership development, please visit our website at or email us at

    This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

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