Kenneth Blanchard, an author and management expert, says this: “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”
Reading is a culture that is developed consciously. Growing up, I could only lay claim to the schoolbooks I had. Food inspired my love for reading.
I borrowed a classmate’s copy of The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. One thing stood out from the book. As Georgina (George), her three cousins and their dog went out camping, they fried bacon and eggs for breakfast. Afternoon tea was accompanied with cake!
In my mind! I could taste the delicious bacon. Having grown up with just the basics and the occasional treats once in a blue moon, this book brought to life possibilities beyond my current status then. When my mum served pumpkin and black tea, out came the Famous Five.
It helped me through the bland food. What began as an escape became a role model of sorts. In the process, I acquired a skill for life; a love for reading.
That love came into action decades later with our 3 children. My wife and I began to read to them even before they were born. Today, they love reading to bits. This is not accidental as we have made two significant investments.
The first investment is that my wife and I read extensively. Our second investment is in books. Our children have about 700 books in their shelves! I am an author and my wife is writing some short stories.
Our daughter wrote her first book when she was 8 years old. Amazingly, our son begun writing his book too. He’s just turned 8! We became role models out of choice and purpose.
Role models serve as a behavioral or moral example to others, especially younger people. These people follow you because of your influence on them.
Here are the 5 reasons why I think role models make better leaders. It is because they lead others by influence, not authority.
- Inculcate... First, being role models requires that you instil ideas and habits that are transformational. We do this not only through consistent instruction, but by practical example. I can’t practice what I don’t know.
- Inspire… Role models fill others with the urge or ability to do or feel something greater than themselves. Teaching our children has become an adventure. They love exploring new knowledge. Not only do we read books together, we listen to podcasts and watch documentaries. One of our all-time podcast favorites is Michael Hyatt’s Don’t Quit Till The Whistle Blows.
- Influence… Is it just me or destructive habits seem easier to acquire? To build beneficial habits, such as healthy food, can feel like climbing a mountain. However, we have had to be our children’s principal role models in this area. With healthy habits, have had the capacity to have an effect on the character or behavior of our children. And this by deed and word.
- Interruptive… Being role models is not only influential. It is courageous. Sometimes, we have to step in and break the continuity of an undesirable trait or habit. Influence becomes your silent ally. The ability to be role models is an opportunity to entrench your leadership.
- Indulgent… Role models develop a spirit of tolerance and are lenient with others. This is an area of personal struggle for me. There are many instances that I want to see everything as black or white. Experience has taught me that it is more beneficial to cut others some slack. This provides me with more leverage to influence them. However, I am careful not to breach any moral boundaries.
People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.”
Being role models isn’t rocket science. It is making a choice to influence another person to grow beyond their comfort zone. It is believing that good can come out of living in transparency, accountability and purposefulness.
Q: Are you a role model and how can you better influence others? Have your say by clicking here.