Before You Go Leading Today, Read These 15 Quotes and Lead By Example!

Pull the chain forward.

Leadership is influence – nothing more and nothing less.  If a person is able to influence another to take some course of action, they are a leader.  Period.  There are several different leadership styles or methods that a person may use in order to influence others and a case could be made in support of each one, but as a follower though, nothing makes it easier to follow a person than one who leads by example.

The person who leads by example communicates strong work ethic (I’m willing to get down and dirty too), accountability (I won’t ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do myself), humility (I’m here as another human being on a mission – not as a superior trying to boss you around), and unity (We’re in this together).

For example, imagine a chain composed of thick metal rings, all interlocked and laid out so that it was in a straight line – this would represent each individual member as part of a team.  The leader’s goal is then to move the chain forward (the ONLY direction!) from point A to point B.  If the leader tries to ‘push‘ the chain forward, the links bump into each other, clink left and right and ultimately end up moving in every which direction except forward.  This is what tends to happen when you have a leader who yells at their followers to do something as they sit back and watch from behind.  When you have a leader who models the way and pulls the vision from the front however, each individual link (person) tends to follow in a beautiful straight line.

Now, it’s obviously not all black or white – push or pull – when it comes to leading a group of people.  There are many additional dynamics at play that affect a leader’s influence.  From my experience though, what I’ve learned is that you don’t lead by pointing your finger – you lead by moving your feet.  Below you will find 15 quotes in support of that notion.  Give them a read and hold on to any of the action-thoughts that come up as a result! Enjoy 🙂


The three most important ways to lead people are:… by example… by example… by example.” ~ Albert Schweitzer


“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” ~ Albert Einstein


“Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.” ~ Paul Wellstone


“People may teach what they know, but they reproduce what they are.” ~ John C. Maxwell


“Make it your business to draw out the best in others by being an exemplar yourself.” ~ Epictetus


“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi


“If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


“People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.” ~ John C. Maxwell


“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ~ Marcus Aurelius


“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others, as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” ~ Thomas J. Watson


“Nothing speaks like results. If you want to build the kind of credibility that connects with people, then deliver results before you deliver a message. Get out and do what you advise others to do. Communicate from experience.” ~ John C. Maxwell


Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi


“I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.” ~ Anthony Robbins


“You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.” ~ Stephen Covey


“What you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What you are speaks so loudly

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Keep the Momentum Going:

Read:  More ‘Leadership’ Quotes!

Read:  26 Leadership Lessons in Quotes from Leadership Gold by John Maxwell

Challenge:  Think about the people within your circle of influence.  Think about how you’ve influenced them up to this point.  Come up with 3 new action steps that you can take to better lead your followers through your example and not through solely your word.  Focus on executing those action steps for the next 30 days!  Good luck!

4 Responses to Before You Go Leading Today, Read These 15 Quotes and Lead By Example!

  • Don’t let the chain get the best of you. As a leader, it is important to understand the internal motivators of your team. You can then use this information by connecting organizational goals and vision with the intrinsic motivator of each team member. While doing this, it is necessary to remember that each person on the team will have their reason.

    • This is a great point, David, and I’m glad you brought it up. While it is essential that the leader of the team leads by example, it is also important that the leader delegates tasks and responsibilities to the appropriate team members as the leader can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything by him/herself. There is a great book on delegation called ‘Do Nothing’ by J. Keith Murnighan (you can find our resources from the book here: ) where he discusses just that – not overextending yourself and handicapping your team by doing too much yourself. My main point with this article is don’t fall to the other side of the spectrum where your team is doing all of the work and you’re simply pointing and wagging your finger. It’s a fine balancing act that makes leadership such an exciting and captivating arena. Cheers!

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