Effective Leadership Means Setting Personal Examples



“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” ― Ray Kroc


Leadership in any field amounts to having the ability to influence people and willingly make them contribute to the cause or vision as envisioned by the leader. There are many theories and research that have been going to unscramble the secrets of leadership. There are many qualities that have been identified as the leadership qualities. Topmost among these qualities are having a vision of what is to be accomplished, having the courage to take risks and willing to sacrifice one’s comforts and happiness in pursuit of the goal, the ability to seek co-operation and commitments from others, having the integrity to be truthful and sincere, possessing the humility to win hearts of people and many more such qualities.

How did the Iconic Leaders Accomplish their Goals?

However, when we think of great leaders whether it is Mahatma Gandhi, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or any other iconic political or business leaders, what do we see? We find that these leaders while having the charisma that differentiates them from others, they also have the most humane qualities and down-to-earth attitude that make them unique. They are known for their ability to inspire others to do their best. They managed to achieve this not by any propaganda or publicity. They did not exhort their followers day in and out to perform or perish. Their style of leadership was truly subtle yet simple.

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The Mantra of Walking the Talk

Warren Buffet lead the most simple life imaginable, living in the same house in which his parents lived, driving himself the same decades old car. This is despite the fact of being one of the richest men in the world. Every year he would just send a single letter to his executives, guiding them on what they should do for that year. It did not have any tasks or targets outlined like other companies. It just had general guidelines. At the end of the letter, he would advise them to do everything so that the investor’s trust is not damaged.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, who was an accomplished missile scientist, also led a very simple life. He had written several inspirational books for the youth. Despite holding such a powerful office of the President, he was humility personified. He achieved his leadership tasks through his simplicity which inspired others to do much more than what they thought they could achieve.

Despite being thrown out of his own company, Steve Jobs continued inventing iconic products for consumer electronics which changed the way the world derived entertainment through communication. He later re-joined his company and made it the top entity in the world.

As the world’s richest man, Bill Gates is also known for donating his wealth to the poor and the needy. The simple life he leads, in an inspiration for the rich of the world.

The Highest Standards of Personal Example

What is common among the leadership styles of these great leaders is the highest standards of ethics they set for themselves. It reflected on their faith and belief in what they preached to others. It also shows how strong their beliefs were; which later became a source of inspiration for their followers. These leaders also had other qualities, but what shines through is that they did exactly what they spoke about. They demonstrated through their own examples, the highest standards that they would wish others to have.


So what can be concluded from this is, setting a high standard through one’s own example, is one of the most effective and powerful ways of leadership. It has worked through the ages when the generals and leaders of great armies have displayed the rare examples of valor and courage by setting their own examples. It is rightly said that people are not influenced by what they hear or read, but are greatly inspired by what they see and learn. This inspires them to emulate their leaders, which is what leadership is all about.


Written By: Raj Kumar Hansdah


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