All leaders hope they’re inspiring others to go do great things, but how do we know? When I was in the Air Force, I was always fascinated by leaders who inspired us to do great things. These leaders weren’t inspiring just because they had great words to say or were great speakers. They were leaders who took action and set a great example for everyone around them. My personal leadership style is based on these leaders and the example they set. I always hope that I’m setting a good example for others. I remind myself of these three tips every day to set a good example.

Inspiring Others Tip #1 – Remember People Are Watching

Tip number one for setting a good example is to remember that people are always watching. No matter what we say or what we do there’s almost always someone there to observe it. Unless you live in a cave all by yourself, people are always looking at your words and actions. As young ROTC cadets, our leaders told us, “If you don’t want to it to show up on the front page of the New York Times, don’t do it or say it”. That’s still good advice today. You could cross out “New York Times” and replace it with social media. Remember there’s always someone watching and deciding if you’re setting a good example that they want to emulate.

Inspiring Others Tip #2 – Make Sure Words and Actions Match

One of the best pieces of advice for inspiring others is to make sure that your words and actions match. People watch to see if you do what you say you’re going to do. Do you follow through and take action on the things you say you will do? It’s not just about doing the things you say you’re going to do. It’s also about the example you set with your team. If tolerance and respecting others are important to you, do you set the example? Do you interrupt people or let them finish their thoughts? Are you open to others’ ideas or do you dismiss every idea that comes from someone else? When our words and actions match we set a good example for everyone around us.

Inspiring Others Tip #3 – Share Failures and Mistakes

None of us are perfect and we won’t set a great example by pretending we are. We can try to hide our failures, however, people see through it very quickly. It’s  important to share your mistakes and your failures and what you learned from them. This is key to setting an example that it’s ok to make mistakes and learn from them. We always learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. If you want to inspire others, gather stories where you didn’t do such a great job but learned from it. Share how you turned that failure into success and see how your team responds.

I hope these tips help you inspire your team. They sound simple but take a bit of conscious thought and effort. Remind yourself of these tips every day and see if that makes a difference in inspiring your team to go above and beyond.

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