Barry Bonds played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, was a 14 time all-star, holds the all-time home run mark for a career (762), holds the record for most home runs in a season (73), and yet he isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now if you know anything about his story you probably know he has been linked to many reports of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) which is why even with all his great accomplishments, the people who vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame have not elected him. The questionable decisions he made off the baseball field derailed his dream of becoming a Hall of Famer. Whether Bonds did or didn’t use PED’s isn’t the point. The point is the perception of Bonds is that he was a cheater and there is almost nothing he can do now to change that perception.
Just like Bonds, the decisions and actions you make every single day as a professional at work absolutely dictate your perception. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or an entry-level employee, your example matters. It reminds me of a quote from the great John Wooden:
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example”
Take an old colleague Jill for example. It could have been her untimely arrival at the office on a regular basis, the bolting out the door the minute the clock struck 5:30pm, the constant distraction of looking at her cell phone, the general lack of enthusiasm about her teammates, or the constant distractions she made during the day. The entire team was growing tired of Jill’s demeanor.
But this isn’t just Jill’s story. I bet if you stopped for a second, you could probably switch Jill’s name for a few colleagues. What’s worse, is you might put yourself in this scenario. This type of behavior is a major problem in work environments. Too many people are completely unaware of the example they demonstrate through their actions and how it effects the outcome of their career.
Most people can directly relate to the desire to have a boss who leads by example. Think about it:
- Do you like to be told to stay at the office until 6:00pm when the boss leaves early every day?
- Do you like to be told you have 14 days paid vacation a year when the boss takes 45?
- Do you like to be told the importance of having a good attitude when the boss walks in grumpy and negative every day?
Of course you don’t like or want any of these scenarios because people like a leader who leads by example. You want a leader who is willing to put in the work and lives up to the same standard to which they hold you accountable.
This was taken as an excerpt from the brand new book F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, which outlines a simple three step framework to elevate your career the right way.
Free Leader Profile Assessment Through our work and research around what effective leaders do differently we have identified four leader profiles (Ruler, Exploiter, Pleaser and Welder.) Find out which one you are for free.
About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.