[image from Crashmaster007, flickr artist](http://www.flickr.com/photos/crashmaster/)
image from Crashmaster007, flickr artist

it’s easy to tell people what to do or what’s expected of them, but leading by example says a lot about who you are as a person, not just as a leader.

when you’re a leader, one thing you expect from your team or organization is accountability. you expect your people to embrace their roles, take ownership of their tasks, and ensure that their work is done when it needs to be, at a level of quality that will positively represent your organization. if you expect that from your people — shouldn’t you expect that from yourself as well?

everything that you expect from your people, you should be willing to do yourself. work hard, and let people see you working hard. be prepared for different situations, and let people see you prepare. you should do what you expect the people following you to do, and you should let them see you do it. it’s inspirational, it forges trust, it sets a good example.

you can’t tell your people, “stop working so hard and take time for yourself,” and send emails at 1:00a on a weekday or 9:30p on a weekend. it seems more like a challenge to work harder than a sincere concern about work-life balance.

so as a leader — when you make a promise, or institute new rules, or try to change habits — it’s best if you start with yourself.

leading by example says a lot about who you are. what are your actions saying about you?