Leadership Quote 14

The true meaning of leading by example.

Few leaders have expressed true leadership better than Mahatma Gandhi - leading a people through non-violent protest to achieve what most of his contemporaries only dreamed of.

It is for this reason that I believe we see many people with leadership titles, but see very few true leaders. The responsibility and burden of leading by example - all of the time - is more than most potential and aspiring leaders have the capability of achieving. This doesn't mean that our leaders must be puritans, righteous or perfect. But is does mean that whatever values a business, organisation or group sets for itself, the leader should demonstrate consistent behaviours that fit within those values.

Perhaps this is why our children see sporting stars as leaders and role models over our real leaders - the politicians and law makers within our countries. When children see sports team play, they see a group of men or women working hard together to achieve a common result. They are penalised for illegal play, they reach for success through hard work and dedication, and they focus their effort on attaining a goal. If they achieve that goal, children see a team celebrating their success together. If they lose, they see their team regroup the next year to again try and achieve that goal. These behaviours are what we expect of a good team - so why wouldn't sportspeople be seen as role-models?

Compare that to the example that our children see from politicians. 

Goals and goalposts that seem to move, promises explicitly stated that are ignored and forgotten, and 'players' on the same team discussing each other in negative terms in public. The goal that is being achieved appears to be more self-serving than for the team, and poor behaviour is not penalised, but often seems to be ignored or worse, rewarded.

I know there are a lot of examples on both sides of the sporting and political fence that I have glossed over - illegal gambling, use of performance enhancing drugs and match fixing to name a few. But when I see the phrase 'Be the change that I want to see in the world', I can't help but think that more leaders would be successful by adopting some of the core values of a sporting team.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 19:00

Leadership Quote 13: A leader is best when....

Leadership Quote 13

For me, this has been the most contentious quote so far.


Some of the most successful businesses in the world have Chairpeople and CEO's that no one knows about. Who is the CEO of 3M? John Deere? Nestle? Toyota? (I don't know why I chose those, they were the first to come to mind). Each business is very very successful in its chosen market, and because of this, I have made a big assumption in believing that the teams that work within these businesses must be very good at what they do. Yet each one does not appear to have a leader that people readily recognise. They might be doing a fantastic job in role, providing vision and letting their people do their jobs well, but as far as Mr/Mrs Public knows, they barely exist.


Some teams need the guidance, authority and presence of a leader to function effectively. A 'barely know he exists' leader creates animosity and questions such as 'What does he/she even do?' I for one have worked for several leaders that barely existed as far as the team was concerned, and we worked in spite of that person, not for them. The team (myself included) were bitter, wondering why we worked so hard when our absent leader seemed to do so little. There was a sense of relief when they left, and a hope for someone who had a deeper impact in the future.

What are your thoughts? A leader who is well known and public, or a leader that you barely know exists? We would love to know what you think

Latest Tweets

Michael Peiniger
RT @Leadershipfreak: "Leaders need to pay as much attention to values as they do to results." S. Chris Edmonds #quote #cuture #leadership
Michael Peiniger
RT @Leadershipfreak: Leadership Tip: Shorten Meetings. Who said meetings should last an hour? #Leadership
Michael Peiniger
RT @toddsampsonOz: For all those receiving their #HSC scores today it’s worth noting - I’ve hired 100s of successful people as a CEO & not…
Follow Michael Peiniger on Twitter