Set a Good Example

“Example has more followers than reason.”
~ Christian Nevell Bovee

It’s advice all managers hear, and will never question, for it sounds so sensible, so right. “Set a good example.”

However what most do, is tuck that advice away in the back of their mind without giving it enough consideration. We trust that we will remember it when a decision pops up that requires ethical and values-based thinking. But you know what happens? When those situations do arise, “Set a good example” gets pushed aside for “I have to show them what to do.” Big difference.

Imagine what might happen if we turned “Set a good example” into a deliberate strategy, a very personal, “all about me and my actions” Ho‘ohana strategy.

For instance, this is how marriage counselors have used it: They have turned “Set a good example.” into “Be the change you want in someone else; do the desired actions with them.” when one spouse will bemoan their partner’s bad habits, wishing for better ones. If you want them to commit to a better diet, you’re best advised to do the meal planning, shopping, and cooking together. If you want them to exercise, you’ll change your own workout routine for a new one, to better understand why they struggle in the start-up phase, and how you can support and encourage them similar to the encouragements you feel work best for you.

It’s a terrific approach for Alaka‘i Managers to take in the workplace. Set a good example by putting yourself in another’s shoes. Immerse yourself in their world to learn empathy, and solve workplace problems not as you normally would in your larger circle of influence, but as they would have to solve them if they had to do so totally on their own.

Airwalks Left Behind

You will uncover their obstacles, and learn of their adversity. What you think is “another lame excuse” might be much a more valid roadblock than you realize. Where we usually get tripped up, is in starting from where we are instead of where they are.

Set a good example. If you can do it, you can bring others with you.

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Comments

  1. says

    Aloha Rosa!

    I love this because it relates to education and parenting as well. Principals to teachers. Teachers to students. Parents to children.

    In educational administration, knowing your staff and students means knowing them well enough to sensitively walk the journey with them in an understanding way. This requires coming close and being there.

    This reminds me of the word “passion”; often I have only thought about excitement and energy, which passion certainly is. But, it is also means to “suffer alongside”. Perhaps setting a good example and passionate living and leading are connected more closely than I thought.

    Mahalo for the reminder!

    • Rosa Say says

      Mahalo for stopping by Dean, so good to hear that this resonated with you.

      Your added definition for passion as “suffer alongside” is a new one for me, and I wonder if you can share more on the origins of that perspective; is it faith based perhaps?

  2. Dean Boyer says

    The definition I used comes from the etymology of the word. I think it’s Latin. Many use the term around Easter when they say “passion week.” Anyway, it’s simply from the word origin.

  3. says

    Rosa,

    Here’s the exact etymology:

    ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French, from late Latin passio(n-) (chiefly a term in Christian theology), from Latin pati ‘suffer.’

  4. says

    Great work Rosa. Truly a very practical view about good management, I really agree that managers should set out good examples to employees for them to follow, and managers should consider this good leadership strategy. Well, you may be interested to find out more about the “leadership” initiated by Madinah Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship which allows business leaders to access relevant learning solutions to enhance their intellectual capital.

    Cheers,
    F.M. Torculas
    mile.org.

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