Leadership Thought: Lead by Example

The test of a leader lies in the reaction and response of his followers.  He should not have to impose authority. Bossiness in itself never made a leader.  He must make his influence felt by example and the instilling of confidence in his followers.  The greatness of a leader is measured by the achievements of the led.  This is the ultimate test of his effectiveness.

General Omar Bradley

Thought: Leading by example is not about micromanagement.

Managers micromanage while leaders give direction and inspire others. If the end result of a project is not what you expected the first person to blame is you. Ask questions such as “Did I give proper guidance?” “Have I done all I can to help the team understand what I want?” “Have I trained and mentored the team?”

As a Brigade Operations Officer I was responsible for developing a training program to support two of our artillery battalions deployment to the National Training Center (NTC). I worked for a great commander, Mark Blum, who gave me his vision for what he wanted the units to learn and be capable of doing but did not tell me how he wanted it done. He left that up to the staff to figure out. We laid out a plan that included use of computer simulations. At that time, most computer simulations were not very productive and Mark was very hesitant about our plan. I asked him to trust me because we were going to leverage new technology that I had used as an instructor. The training went great and his boss said that we needed to share what we had done because it was going to become a required part of training for all units going to NTC. Mark came to me later and said, “You made me look better than I deserved.”  I have always respected Mark’s ability to trust me to accomplish his vision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *