Almost every day, I talk to coaches. Occasionally, one will say, “We didn’t win because we had no leadership on our team.” Wait a minute, Coach, I thought YOU were the leader!

Much, perhaps too much, has been written about leadership. Leadership is all about influence. The truth is, you influence people much more with your actions than you do with words. Words are extremely important, but if the “tongue in your shoes doesn’t follow the tongue in your mouth” you will have little lasting influence. In other words, we should all practice what we preach.

Rod Olson says that 89% of culture is driven by what people see their leader “do” while only 11% is driven by what a leader “says.” More than any other time, we need CEO’s, politicians, coaches, teachers, pastors and parents to lead by example.

Jesus was the best at leading by example. Jesus wanted His disciples to serve, so He served (Matthew 20:27-28). He wanted His disciples to be humble, so He washed their feet (John 13:3-5, 13:12-15). Jesus did not want His disciples to be selfish, so He gave it all (Philippians 2:3-8).

Finally, real leaders love those they lead. Politicians lead people, not voters. CEO’s lead men and women, not employees. Coaches coach players, not a sport. Teachers teach future leaders and future parents, not a subject. If you don’t love those you lead, you simply lead out of selfish ambition. Paul said it best 2,000 years ago, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a)

Lead by example and love those you lead.

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