I don’t feel like taking it easy today on a Friday. I feel like pushing harder, so here we go.
Lead by example is commonly accepted as good leadership. Tons of leaders claim it as their primary way of leading. You’ve probably heard it all your life. The only problem, and it’s a big one, is that leading by example isn’t actually leading. It’s doing. If you want to be a doer, a producer, great, but don’t confuse that with being a leader.
A leader builds a relationship. A leader understands what moves a person. A leader clarifies the standards and coaches specific skills to reach them. A leader takes responsibility for someone besides herself.
Leading people is more than being an example to follow. Necessary, yes, but not enough. You can be an example in any role. Leadership is a much, much bigger responsibility. Make sure you’re ready to do the job you signed up for.
Do the work.