Resolved: 14. This Is How You Maintain Credibility as a Leader

Practice what you preach

Resolution #14

Resolved, to refrain from doing the things that I would not wish done by others; to refrain from asking others to do things that I would not be willing to do myself.

What and Why?

Here’s where I explain what I mean and why it matters.

Practice what you preach.

Have you ever had a boss who’s the master of the 2 hour lunch, yet consistently harps on you for getting to work 5 minutes late? Its pretty hard to give that kind of hypocritical overseer 110% of your effort, isn’t it?

Our inconsistency as leaders rightly inspires inconsistency in those we lead.

Maybe you’ve heard a pastor preach on about sexual purity, only to find out he’s been cheating on his wife for the past 6 months. Surely, you know that the guilt belongs to this guy alone. Still, will you be eager to trust the next pastor who comes in to take his place?

As leaders, we cannot afford to lose credibility.

We keep it by consistently behaving in the ways that we would want others to behave. In short, if you want your employees to be timely and prompt, you need to be the first person to arrive at the office and the last one to leave. Be the example.

Leaders have a responsibility to model the right behavior.

Woe to me if I ever become a guy who stands in front of a group of people and tells them to do the tough stuff that I’m not willing to do myself. This is my open invitation for you, yes you, to call me out if I fail to live up to the advice I give here.

How and When?

Here’s where I look at ways to practically apply this resolution to my life.

  1. Give a second thought, and then a third, to any statement that starts with “You need to…” Examine whether I would be willing to take that advice if I were in the same circumstance as the listener.

This post is part of the Resolved series: a collection of 21 personal resolutions that I’m writing/preaching to myself. If you’d like to keep up with this series, feel free to click one of the links below and subscribe to my RSS feed.


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2 Responses to Resolved: 14. This Is How You Maintain Credibility as a Leader

  1. Laura Click July 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Great advice, Kenny. I’ve definitely seen leaders who live in this kind of contradiction. I think, unfortunately, what happens is when people get to the top they think they deserve to behave differently than everyone else. 

    However, I think the opposite is true. When rise to the top, your responsibility to lead by example is even greater. I’m not saying you can’t ever have a two-hour lunch or take a break. But, if you do, you can’t preach the opposite to your employees. Great reminder!

    • Kenny Silva July 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

      Great points, Laura. When a leader rises to the top, they have to realize that there is a real need to be a good model for their people. That often involves sacrifice, but a great leader is one who will do so willingly.

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