In Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s new book The Truth About Leadership (which is excellent and I will be recommending it fully here soon) they share some interesting research. They have asked people of all ages who they see as their leadership role models. In the book they have broken down the respondents into two age categories 18-30 and over 30. Here are their reported results:
|Role Model Category||18 -30||Over 30|
|Teacher or coach||26%||14%|
|Community or religious||11%||8%|
While there maybe many lessons or insights that you could draw from this interesting data, I want to draw your attention to a couple of things.
- For those over 30, 67% of people are looking to family members or business leaders as their leadership role models. If you add in the role of teacher and coach the percentage goes to 81%
- For those 18-30, 47% are looking to family members or business leaders for their role models, and if you add teacher or coach the total moves to 73%
The message is that people are looking to you as their leadership role model. Regardless of your job title, you can make perhaps the most profound difference any leader can make – the difference of being a great role model.
This insight adds another dimension to our responsibility as a leader, a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent and as a human being.
When we exhibit the qualities and behaviors of leadership, it will make a difference in far more than the results we achieve. It will make a difference in the lives of others. It can help create and develop future leaders as well.
This data offers a challenge to us too. I know that I am sometimes a better leader at work than I am with those closest to me. I am more measured in my words. I am more thoughtful and purposeful in my actions. With those closest to me, whom I believe will give me the benefit of the doubt, I am not always as disciplined as I could be.
Are you being the leader you are capable of being in all phases of your life, or just when you are “in role”?
I encourage you to consider the personal messages this data provides you.
I challenge you to think about what type of a role model you are being in a more broad way.
I urge you to take action based onyour reflections from this post.