Anamcgary's Blog

Leadership thoughts from PeopleFirst HR

Lead by Example – A Powerful Story

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I so admire those leaders who truly lead by example. They are easy to follow and their lessons are so much more meaningful and impactful than leaders that just tell you what to do.

I recently read a story of leadership by example and I wanted to share.  Over 200 years ago, a man in civilian clothing rode past a small group of tired and battled exhausted soldiers. They were digging what appeared to be an important defensive position.  The leader of the group wasn’t making any effort to help the soldiers. He just shouted orders and threatened to punish the soldiers if the work wasn’t completed within the hour.  The stranger on horseback asked “Why aren’t you helping?”  The leader replied “I’m in charge! The men do as I tell them.” He added “Help them yourself if you feel so strongly about it.”

To the mean leader’s surprise the stranger got off his horse and helped the men until the job was finished.

Before he left the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the confused leader.

“You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men – and I will provide a more permanent solution,” the stranger said.

Up close, the now humbled leader recognized the stranger as General George Washington and was taught a lesson he would never forget!

I love leaders that are willing to dig with their team. I have been fortunate enough in my life and career to have such leaders. They weren’t just order “barkers,” but order helpers. My respect and trust for these leaders is off the charts. I was extremely loyal to them and they taught me to be such a leader.  When there is a job to do, I join the team in whatever capacity will help them accomplish the task at hand.  The loyalty you gain is unprecedented.

If you have you been blessed to have such leaders in your life? I would love to hear your stories. Please share.

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