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“Example isn’t the MAIN way to influence people, it’s the ONLY way.”

Ok, this is a repost from Instagram (@masterheartingclub, feel free to follow 😉), but it’s too important to leave there where many people are not…

Apart from being one of my favourite quotes, this serves to remind us that we are ALL leaders. In English, we talk about “the life we lead”. And usually the implication is to live it fully, making full use of our talents and resources. 

So, we are already leaders of our own lives. But we are also called to be leaders of others. Because the way we lead our lives affects those around us whether we like or want it or not.

For “formal” leaders in organisations, this quote has profound implications. Industrial revolution age, dictatorial-style leadership was (is?) rarely about example and while command and control was deemed necessary for productivity, it completely failed to understand human psychology. 

This misunderstanding has led to increasing amounts of regulations and policies targeting everyone but designed to prevent the sort of behaviour exhibited by a tiny percentage of people (in one case 0.00023%!*) People who will do so regardless of dictatorial rules, in fact the more dictatorial, the more ingenious the ways they find to bend and break them).

This lack of trust actually causes a culture of distrust for the same reason of example. That’s a massive area itself, an illustration of the power of this quote from philosopher Albert Schweitzer (Ok, so he also said the “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”…I would take issue with the assumption about “miseries of life”).

So remember when we want people to behave in a certain way, we need to model that behaviour. Which is why it is so desperately important for people to stop thinking it’s “selfish” to work on oneself, since without that you are only perpetuating and projecting behaviours that do not serve us or others.

How much better to BE the change, be a light for people to follow and be inspired by – not because you convince them, but because you yourself are inspired and live your best life!

* RHD Human Services, which over 36 years managed $1.433bn in government funds and could identify only $325,000 in theft by individuals. From The Common Good Corporation, Fishman and Fishman.

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