Hey, big shot. You don’t have to be a celebrity or a superstar to be a role model. Chances are if you’re a parent, teacher, coach, religious leader, or manager, you’re influencing people every day. Make it positive!
Set the bar high. Have high expectations for others and yourself. Avoid the tendency to adjust the target downward just to accommodate mediocrity.
Inspire others. When you’re a role model, every message you send is critical. For example, people will notice whether or not you value a good education, the relationship that you have with your spouse, how you work under pressure, how you behave during the Little League game, and whether you’re confident enough to admit fault. Don’t wait for the stars to align to demonstrate good behavior. Deliver your message every day in small ways.
Look in the mirror. Look to see if you’re sending the wrong message. Here are some examples of behavior gone awry: cheating has become a substitute for hard work; you have become ruthless to get ahead; drugs are your rewards for success; life is about stuff, not people; relationships are disposable; the only thing that matters is winning.
Stand for something. Good role models are objective and fair. Furthermore, they have the strength of their convictions. They believe what they say and say what they believe. Mark Twain may have said it best, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
Walk the talk. Ensure that your words and actions are consistent.
Integrity matters. Good role models are open, honest, and trustworthy. Make sure to finish what you start and follow through on commitments.
Be respectful. Treat others as you want to be treated.
Believe in yourself. Be confident in who you are and what you represent. But balance that confidence with a dose of humility.
Hold people accountable. Don’t accept bad behavior. Speak up against abuses. If you don’t condemn poor behavior, then you’re a co-conspirator. Life isn’t a spectator sport.
Nobody’s perfect. Accept responsibility for your actions. When you make a mistake, admit fault and show you mean it by taking corrective action.
You’re judged by the company you keep. Surround yourself with people of high character and integrity. They may rub off on you and provide extra encouragement when the stakes are high or the going gets tough.
Your soul is NOT for sale. Listen to your conscience. That’s why you have one.
This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others by Frank Sonnenberg
© 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.
Frank is an award-winning author. He has written five books and over 300 articles. He was recently named one of “America's Top 100 Thought Leaders” and nominated as one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally, FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs.” Frank's latest book is "Follow Your Conscience," November 2014.