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Daily Leadership Thought #160 – Whether You Like It Or Not, You Are A Role Model

One of the more troubling developments in society today is the abdication of personal responsibility.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with my clients and colleagues around accountability issues.  It’s almost as if the average person these days thinks that if they are doing what they perceive to be their best then that should be good enough.  Moreover, when their judgment is lacking or they make a mistake, it is simply shrugged off and explained away with minimal or no remorse.  Rarely does anyone admit mistakes these days and then step up to make things right.

It all starts at the top.  Whether you are a politician, government official, leading hedge fund executive, Wall Street banker, corporate CEO, small business owner, college president, sports coach, professional athlete, teacher, parent, etc., your actions do matter!  Strong Ethics aren’t a luxury but a requirement of any well run business, organization, community, classroom and family.  Behaviors do ultimately have consequences.  And, even though you may win in the short term by always putting your needs first, not playing by the rules or stretching the boundaries of what’s acceptable, ultimately it will catch up with you and sadly have adverse consequences for others in your life.

Leadership is first and foremost about responsibility.  By the very nature of the position you have chosen to become a role model.  You ARE responsible to the people who work with, follow or depend on you.   They are paying close attention to what you say and what you do to see if there are any contradictions.   They have literally put their fate in your hands.  You set the tone in terms of the culture, overall attitude and how people interact and treat one another.   The group will either aspire to great things, push themselves to achieve, and think like a winning team or shrink into the darker territory of non-performance, back biting, and self doubt.   Life should never be perceived as a win-lose proposition.

Whether you are responsible for 100,000 people or just 1 it doesn’t matter.  Each and every day we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.   If you chosen the path of leadership, the world should be a better place because of your efforts (no matter how small).   Never forget that the ripple you create by tossing a pebble in the ocean can travel great distances…


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