"In my experience as a senior executive in the competitive and fast-paced sporting goods industry, I have seen my share of good leaders.

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Leading From the Front: The Importance of Setting A Good Example

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We measure an executive’s success in many ways: company performance, personal development, professional recognition, salary and bonuses earned. However, more telling than any of these, we can gauge their success by two factors: their ability to guide a team towards an ultimate goal and their reputation.

Personally, I have found that a true leader is someone who can inspire their peers and direct reports to bind together and attain a common goal. These leaders most often get their respect and good reputation by leading from the front. 

Do As I Say, And As I Do

Leading from the front is about setting a good example for the team to follow. One of the easiest ways to lose others’ respect is to hold them – but not yourself – accountable. In order to inspire others, a leader must first be willing to walk the talk, so to speak. In doing this, a leader begins to weave cords of confidence. Cords of confidence are the threads that hold teams and organizations together, as members lean upon each other and trust that all other parties will pull their weight as well.

Apart from inspiring confidence in others, leading by example gives a leader a broad platform from which to demonstrate the qualities they want their employees to embody. If a leader wants a resourceful staff, they themselves must practice initiative and out-of-the-box thinking. If they want a transparent employee culture, they should practice honesty, open communication and so forth.

Your team’s tolerance for mediocrity is responsive to this principle as well. A leader shows employees what the acceptable response to failure is by holding him or herself accountable to a high standard, and being open the consequences of less than stellar performance.

Leaders Belong In Front

In my experience, these principles are applicable to all walks of leadership. In sports, team captains are expected to lead their teammates by example on the field, in the locker room, and in the media.

Similarly, many military squadron leaders need to be first in line when it comes to troop movements and maneuvers. This is because there is simply no substitute to leading from the front.

In business, the same rules apply; if a leader expects others to have their back, then they must be willing to be first to face the fire.

As leaders take charge and set the example for the group, they become more effective at executing their own tasks, and encourage everyone around them to perform better. Effective leadership doesn’t just come from the top down; it comes from the front.

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Julie Nimmons

Julie Nimmons

Julie uses her 30 years’ experience to help CEOs, executives and business owners in her Vistage Group find success in their businesses and personal lives. With positive leadership, a firm sense of prioritization and the commitment to lifelong learning, Julie’s creates a constructive workspace for Group members where honesty, innovation and cooperation can flourish.