Lead by Example

It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Kimanzi Constable who is a former bread delivery guy turned best-selling author (80,000 copies sold) He is an international speaker and life coach who helps people figure out what their dreams are and how to make them a reality. If you would like to be featured on my blog click here.

I’ve had 13 different jobs over my working career, each of them with a different kind of boss. Some you could classify as leaders, some not so much.

Since I started working at 15 years old, you can say I’ve been learning leadership fr 17 years.

Fast forward several years and I was a business owner who had five people working for me, so I got a chance to put what I learned to the test. Small problem, I really hadn’t learned much!

During those years as a business owner and leader of a company, I went through a good amount of employee’s and if you did a survey, they would have say It’s because of me.

I would tell my employee’s to do this or don’t, I would ask them to do things I would never dream of doing myself. When I was asked or questioned about something, I would tell them to shut up because I was in charge.

Yeah, you probably would have quit too, I know I would have quit if I worked for me! Getting through that experience and many more over the years has made me realize one key point in regards to leadership: real leaders lead by example.

Enough leaders talk the talk

You’ve probably experienced this as least once in your life, a leader who talks bit but doesn’t back it up. You can see through these leaders immediately even though you might have to listen to them, you wouldn’t give them your 100% effort.

There are enough leaders out there that try to lead this way, we definitely don’t need anymore. If you have been guilty of being a talker then this is your wake up call, talk is cheap.

What we need are leaders who don’t even have to say a word because their actions speak volumes. We need leaders who understand what the idea of servant leadership really means.

Our Lord was the model of this, He didn’t talk about all the miracles He was going to perform or the good He would do, He did it and people followed! People still follow Him today because of the actions He took!

People follow action, not words

When I think about some of the greatest leaders the world has seen, all of them had one major quality in common: action.

When we look at history, the movements that changed the world were inspired by and inspired to take action.

When you as a leader take action first then give instruction, people will not only follow, they’ll give everything they have.

Are you that kind of leader?

As I said, too many leaders talk the talk, if you want people to follow, you got to lead with action.

We need more action

There are some great and amazing leaders out there right now, we are inspired by the action they take everyday.

However, with over 7 billion people in the world and counting, we need more strong leaders. We need leaders like Seth Godin, who understand that people follow action.

We need more leaders like Michael Hyatt who create products and services that help people improve their leadership.

We need you and more people than you know need you to step up and take action and lead by example. We need everyone and anyone who reads this post to step up and lead with action and by example.

So that’s my pitch, the rest is up to you, we need more strong, action based leaders, and I pray that you step up. The world needs you too!

Question: Do you lead by example? If you haven’t, will you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Juan Cruz Jr.

    I lead by example. I wouldn’t dare ask something of someone I myself wouldn’t do. I have created credibility because of it.

    • Juan,

      Your a great leader because you take action and lead by example. Thank you for stopping by to read and share.

    • That’s the best way to lead Juan and that’s why I read your blog!

  • The greatest leaders never even tried to be leaders in the first place. They simply stood by their beliefs and acted on them. Leadership was thrust upon them by the inevitable following they developed. Character and conviction require no bluster.


    • Great points Trevor! People who do that always have influence with those around them. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

    • Very good point Trevor, thanks for adding to the discussion :)

    • I love how you put that Trevor: “They simply stood by their beliefs and acted on them. Leadership was thrust upon them by the inevitable following they developed.” So good. So true!

  • Huge reminder as the core responsibility of a leader is to ‘lead’

    I like the quote from Benjamin Franklin –

    “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

    We’re advocating to move from ‘tell me’ to ‘teach me’ (which means the leader knows already)… but I think we should journey on to the position of ‘involve me’. This means a level of openness from Leaders that says let’s learn ‘together’

    In some cases ‘learning together’ with followers is a real testament to a leader’s heart to lead.

    • I really like that Ibukun, very interesting and true point, thanks.

      • Thanks Kimanzi… and your story is inspiring on never giving up.

        • Thanks, I hope it inspires people and shows them it’s possible for them :)

    • Isn’t that the essence of empowerment. The ability to tell, teach, and involve – all encapsulated in the ability to empower. As a facilitator of teams at work, I’ve seen the sheer power involvement can bring in fostering greater team spirit and productivity. This is a tool so many leaders fail to utilize.

  • Love this, Kimanzi. The modern-day leadership paradox is that one gains power by giving it up; we rule by serving. Great post.

  • Learning to lead by example is one of the biggest struggles I have. But, when I force myself as a leader, I fail miserably. Leading by example is the only effective leadership approach I know. And, that approach must not be about me but about others. So, in leading by example, my example hopefully leads others to lead by example too. Servant leadership speaks louder than any leadership principles I could teach or read. Leading by example means being a servant and letting that existence speak in ways my words never could.

  • I like your example of Christ and I agree, so many talk the talk of a leader, but few are willing to walk the tiresome, yet beyond rewarding, path. There is a time to navigate, but if we aren’t moving there is no need… Sound advice, sir.

  • This is a point that I have been learning in my own life. It’s been impressed on me that notion of doing more than I ask people to do. For example, if I ask people to go five I believe I should be going seven. Thank you Kimanzi that really confirms this point: leaders are doers! :)

    • Amen Mike and I like that you go 7, I know I need more of that!

    • That’s so important, Mike. That’s leading by example!

  • Great post, Kimanzi.

    One thing that attracted me to following your blog is that your authentic. You don’t just talk about changing your life, you do it. You don’t just talk about helping people, you do it.
    The world needs more people like you. I pray I’m someone others can depend on to DO the hard stuff, to not just speak it but to DO it!

    • That is such a huge compliment TC, thanks so much! I’m honored and honored to have meet people like yourself and Dan online, it’s changed my life!

      • You’re welcome. I’m honored to have met you both as well. You both encourage me to keep on pursuing my dream of being a published author.

        • It’s been great getting to know both of you, your friendships and writing have been so valuable in my life.

  • DS

    Kimanzi – you are spot on when you mention that we need people to take action. We need to quit blaming others, quit making excuses and choose to be difference makers.

    • That can be said about a lot of things DS, great point and thank you!

  • Yes we need more leaders who lead by action. And we need more leaders that hold true to their character and values. Hyatt is a great example, I am always amazed at how much he freely gives away.

    I am do my best to grow to be that kind of leader.

  • “Step up and lead with action and by example.” Here’s our call to action gang. Let’s march!

  • English enthusiast

    I really wish someone would show leadership and proofread your work. This is plain awful writing.

    • I’m sorry it wasn’t up to your standards but despite that, I hope the message came through clear. Thanks for commenting :)

  • Great challenge here Kimanzi. I know there’s lots of room for improvement in my life! Love what you say about our Lord. His Word and His actions always line up!

  • Bobby

    “I would tell my employee’s to do this or don’t, I would ask them to do things I would never dream of doing myself.”

    Which of your employee’s possessions were you telling to do things or did you have multiple employees? I’m confused.

    • Multiple, the point being I would tell them to do things I wasn’t willing to do, I had to learn real leadership.

  • This really resonates a lot with me. Real leadership is serving…which is exactly what Jesus did!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Luke! Yes, the best leaders serve and take action. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

    • Thanks Luke and amen!

  • I do my best to lead by example because I’ve seen my fair share of those who talk the talk yet don’t walk the walk.

    • Your a great example of a leader who takes action and leads by example. We need more people like yourself.

    • You’re doing an amazing job!

  • One of the quotes I continually remind myself is from St. Francis of Assisi who said, “There’s no use walking anywhere to preach, unless your walking is preaching.” I can’t agree more with you Kimanzi. Actions are supposed to supplement our words and beliefs. Unfortunately, what we see in the world today is a reversal. Where words are many, but actions are few. That’s perhaps why people place a high view of your leadership track record which proves you have delivered. It’s an empirical way of showing that you lead. Thanks for your inspiring post.

    • That’s a great quote, Paul! That’s why we need more leaders like yourself to start taking action and leading by example. Thank you for reading and adding the to discussion.

    • Great quote Paul and I’m glad there’s people like you stepping up!

  • Razwana

    Yes, there ARE enough ‘leaders’ who say a lot and do very little. Although I must say I’m fortunate to not encounter many of them. But I have witnessed some ‘managers’ that talk more than they should.

    Often I’ve found it’s because they would much rather be somewhere else, or are dictating from a ‘leadership’ book they’ve read and been impressed by, without testing if the theory works.

    – Razwana

    • I hear you, most of the mangers I’ve seen have done the same thing. Thank you for adding your thoughts to the conversation. I appreciate it.

    • Great point Razwana, thanks for adding to the discussion!

  • It all starts at home. If you’re not leading your family, how can you lead an organization. I catch myself doing the exact things I tell my daughter not to do. There’s always room for improvement.

  • I try to always lead by example because its truly the only way to gain followers if you want to call it that. I tend not to follow the path most people travel but to create my own path and let others go down that. This is not to be a showoff of anything like that, but to show others it can be done and to inspire more people to make greatness happen. You are a great inspiration Kimanzi, because you are doing the same.

    • Your a great example of a person who takes action and leads by example. Your comment reminds me about the power and value of sharing our story to influence people. Great thoughts! Thank you for reading the post.

    • Thanks Lincoln!

  • Alan Allard

    Kimanzi, great article on a timely topic. In terms of your question, “Do you lead by example? If you haven’t, will you?”–

    I know what you mean by that, and it’s a useful question, but here’s a twist on it:

    We cannot NOT lead by example.

    In effect, we all lead by example all the time. But is it the example that will get the results we want?

    • That’s so true, we already influence those around us for either the good or bad. Thanks for reading and adding to the topic.

    • Very good add Alan, thank you!

  • Hi Kimanzi,

    It’s wonderful to see you at Dan’s blog again, and I thought your post was very interesting and useful.

    In particular, I can appreciate very much what you wrote about how followers follow action and not words.

    It is quite interesting because I think there is a general society perception (especially from those who might not consider themselves as leaders) that those who talk a lot tend to lead. However, when one really looks deeper into the greatest of leaders, they will see that it was always the actions they carried out that had the greatest impact. Words were used as a way to help support and describe the actions being carried out.

    Thank you.

    • Hiten,

      I hope you have connected with kimanzi constable he’s a great person to know.

      Yes, action trumps talk any day. Thank you for leaving an insightful comment.

    • Thanks Hiten, glad to be back!

  • Great post at a great blog. Too many leaders think they can say one thing and then live by another thing. It all works together and an fantastic reminder

    • Glad you enjoyed the post David. That way never works. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    • So true David!