Years ago when I stumbled upon the Internet, I wouldn’t have imagined I’d become a super affiliate and run a global health affiliate network in the health industry, nor that I’d be coaching students to follow in my footsteps…
Today I’m proud to have the opportunity to share with you some of the most essential things I’ve learned along the way, and more importantly, the art of leading by example.
The Art of Leading by Example
Contrary to popular opinion, leading by example does not come naturally. You have to learn and teach yourself how to lead by example, taking the leadership role and doing what needs to be done – without necessarily waiting for assigned leaders to do it for you.
Leadership guru, Robin Sharma, in his book, says that anybody can become a leader at his workplace, in his family or in the community, without having a title. You just have to approach your job, duty or activity like nothing else. Give 100%. Paint like Picasso.
Anything you do, do it with a passion. Your output should be a masterpiece. It will shine from a mile away. They say, there aren’t any great things, there are simple things done in a spectacular way.
This reminds me of how I went about building my sites many years ago, when I first started promoting affiliate programs. I slapped some banners and ads up, threw up a few (poorly written) articles, and expected money to roll in…
Think about it… How can you expect sales to come in from your website, if your articles are rushed, crap – and wrote in the frame of mind that you need money fast! This will always show each and every time – I guarantee it…
Nothing happened (when I worked in the same way) when I was trying to make money with affiliate programs.
Months later, I noticed that top affiliates in the industry played the game from a different perspective. Their focus was on content (and making their content sell) rather than ads or banners (aka the “monetization” aspect of blogging.)
Once I found out about that approach, I never looked back. From that moment forward, I’ve committed to myself to never publish garbage content and focus on what the site visitor wants, and needs.
When other bloggers or affiliates see my sites, they’ll be inspired and motivated to up their game and produce even better content. I believe deep down in my heart and soul that the Internet (including the big search engine, Google, and not only) strives to become a high quality content highway relevant to buyers and visitors, not a pool filled with SPAM and throw away articles. I’ve been guilty of putting up spam sites in the past, but I learned from that experience. I now know that a long lasting business is all about the customer!
Of course, we all have different opinions on Google, and perhaps they’ve lost who they once were. It happens when companies have made millions, share holders need to be pleased and so on. However, regardless of whoever or whatever (technology) is the number one way to get targeted traffic to our websites – we ALWAYS need to write for our visitors and our potential customers, not write to please anyone else.
Remember I always say visitors first – search engines second. Search engines try and follow people anyhow, although sometimes they do get this majorly wrong… nothing is perfect.
Be the First to Do the Impossible
Lots of affiliates complain that they cannot find good writers to create hot content, or that they’re too expensive, or that they don’t have enough time to handle their blogging venture, and so forth… Some affiliates start off on a high, and then soon start moaning about the work load and so on. Yelling and moaning all day long (like a big baby) won’t bring miracles into somebody’s life, or even your own, yes?
I’d rather take the bull by the horn and try to do the impossible, rather than act miserable like many others. Being upset when something doesn’t or isn’t going your way is for cry babies… Feel the emotion, but let it go! For Jerry McClain was right: the best example of leadership is leadership by example.
My first coach was a true leader. He taught me most if not everything that I know about the online business space. Following in his shoes, I became more confident in what I could do with my business (and how to bump my own expectations) as a genuine marketer.
As Albert Einstein puts it, example is not another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.
1) Be Conscious about the Impacts of Your Words and Actions
In order to effectively lead by example, you need to be aware about the effects of what you say and do.
From parenting and social places such as churches, to leading in the workplace, your actions and words should go hand in hand. Simply walk your talk. For instance, for children, their role models are their parents and more than half of the time, they will emulate the behavior and habits of their parents.
Children born and brought up by ill-mannered parents are more likely to present the same behavior to society (compared to children) born of morally upstanding parents.
It is not enough to demand certain behaviors from your children or subordinates. You need to live the behaviors you demand of others by simply leading by example…
2) What You Sow Is What You Reap!
The concept of leading by example is simple; how you treat others greatly determines how they treat you. When you treat people with disrespect, they directly or indirectly treat you with disrespect, while patient and caring acts beget patient and caring acts.
It is argued that you should always make your words sweet because you may need to eat them later. Simply remind yourself every time that your actions speak volume without necessarily uttering a word.
Let me give you an example from my family life. I have two bambinos. If I want them to do something which I think is required from them to do, at their age, I simply do it myself first. I don’t say anything. Then my kids will follow in my footsteps. It’s an incredible learning tool I’m utilizing with them. This way, both parties end up winning, and both their lives are enriched.
It is argued that great leaders are great communicators and great communicators are great listeners and as such… you better listen well!
It is amazing how often people do not listen to others when they communicate and are always eager to talk in order to express and impress. Since you do not listen to others, what will happen when they do not listen to you? This should not be the case, since you should strive to listen keenly to what is being said.
Ask questions if need be because it is in the listening that you will pick up what is actually not said, which more often than not, is more important that what is being said. A tongue twister I know, but think about this deeply for a moment!
In listening, you will know what is required of you and others as a leader and it will guide the decisions and directives you make and give respectively. Even when correcting others, simply listen to what they have to say. Jack Lalanne advises that when you want to change someone, you don’t preach to them, you simply set an example and shut up.
Remember, you are only human!
Leading by example does not mean you are fault-free or without imperfections. Once in a while you will make mistakes, be in bad moods and make wrong decisions. These decisions may reflect you as unfavorably to others. However, this is what makes you human.
Understanding this reality is essential in helping you not to take things too seriously when you fail or succeed. In addition, it offers you the humility required to understand the fragility of other people, who may not be as wise and insightful as you are (to do the things that ought to be done).
Leading by example is the only way to impact other people’s lives, like a domino effect. The question is not if you are ready to take the leap, but when?
If you have any comments or questions about this article, I’m here. Let’s take discussion further…