Leading by Example
The first key to effective leadership is leading by example. Simply put, others will not want to follow you or work towards their own potential if they don’t see you working towards yours.
Have you ever known someone who criticized others for certain behaviors but turned around and did those same things later on? It is impossible to gain the respect needed to lead effectively if you don’t live up to the same standards that you set for others.
Kobe Bryant’s Olympic Leadership
A great example of this type of leadership is Kobe Bryant. Bryant’s work ethic had long been known, however, it was during the 2008 Olympics that it was witnessed firsthand by others. Before traveling to Bejing, the team practiced together for 3 weeks to try and gain chemistry as a cohesive unit.
Each day, Bryant’s teammates noticed how early he was getting to the gym to workout, oftentimes logging a full workout before anyone even showed up to the practice facility. He was also known as someone who would continually do extra work after practice and always pursue perfection.
His work ethic inspired others to work harder than ever to improve and eventually, the whole team adopted his workout schedule.
The 2008 Olympic basketball team captured the gold medal after only receiving bronze 4 years prior.
Kobe Bryant is credited by USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and others for changing the culture of USA Olympic Basketball for the better, mostly due to the model for how champions needed to act and how it really looked to pursue the best version of themselves.
Imagine if Kobe Bryant had wasted time and energy telling others that they needed to show up hours early to the practice facility or that they needed to stay after to continue working on their game if he wasn’t doing those things himself. In this case, it was much more powerful for him to provide an example for the others rather than using words to try and lead.