Why “Lead by Example” is a Critical Element of Change Management

We’ve all heard the phrase “lead by example.” We hear it so often that we often take for granted the fact that it means, “Do what you are asking others to do.” In all work situations it is essential that leaders embody the behaviors and qualities that they want to see in their people. More importantly this concept of “Lead by Example” is a critical element of change management.

Change is hard and most organizations fail when it comes to change management. There are many reasons change management fails, but one big component is the fact that many leaders ask for major change in their organization yet they never change themselves. The leader asks people to use software that they never log on to, to treat customers in ways they never do, and to follow procedures that they never follow. If the Owner, CEO, Principal, President doesn’t do it why should anyone else?


Lead by example and your people will follow.

In his book the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell discusses the “Law of the Lid.” In any organization the head honcho represents the “lid” or cap of growth for a company. Any limitations in your leadership translate to organizational limitations. In the same regard, any limitations in your ability to change, adapt, and to develop new skills and behaviors will cap your organization’s ability to respond to changes in market demands, technology, and business practice.

The solution is simple. If you want your people to do something, you do it first. You become the role model and exemplify the change, the attitude, and the skill that you want to see in the rest of your team. Lead by example and your people will follow.

Shennandoah Goodson

Shennandoah is the founder of 525 Principle. She regularly speaks and contributes articles on a variety of topics to outlets such as SXSW Interactive, Society for Marketing Professional Services, Commercial Real Estate Women, and numerous others.

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