This is my favorite time of the baseball season. For the next few weeks, every pitch and every at-bat is amplified. As I’m following the playoff run of my Baltimore Orioles, the New York Mets are signing former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this young man. Baseball people question his skills. Can he hit a major league slider, can he even compete for playing time at the higher levels of the minor leagues? If I were a baseball exec, I’d sign him because of his work ethic. I don’t have any inside knowledge, but everything I read and hear indicates he is legendary worker and he consistently models the right behavior. He is a Leader!
Leadership gurus Kouzes and Posner call this “modeling the way,” and it’s one of the most powerful leadership practices. In the business world we live in, it’s about setting examples for your team for everything from workplace procedures, dress, and meeting times to e-mail responses, deliverables, and product releases—in other words, everything that you may deal with as a leader and manager.
I attended a meeting recently where a very experienced leader showed up with a written agenda, written action items that had come out of the previous meetings, a written introduction for the new players on the team, and a specific list of outcomes that he wanted from this meeting. He was modeling the way. He had done this a hundred times before and would continue to do this, and it would eventually become part of the culture. He was modeling behavior that others would emulate.
Who is “modeling the way’” in your company? Tim Tebow may never play an inning in the big leagues, but I’ll bet you every minor leaguer in the Mets systems will be positively impacted by his leadership practice of modelling the way. Worth the investment?