What I see I repeat.
What I repeat I believe.
What I believe I do.
These three statements reveal the power of role modeling. Role modeling begins when leaders think of themselves as role models.
A famous NBA player was exactly correct in the early 1990’s with his brash statement around role modeling versus parenting. But, the shirking of the responsibility and accountability around making a choice to role model in the first place, is an ethical leadership issue. It is not out of the way to point out that the majority of leadership failings in any organization, or with any individual, are moral failings, under-girded by the avoiding, accommodating, or the surrendering of ethical responsibility.
When followers see a leader ethically fail–even in small ways–they repeat that ethical failure unconsciously. When followers repeat those failings over and over again, they begin to believe those failings, which become a lived reality. When followers believe those failings as lived reality, they act out in ways that may seem small at the outset; but, eventually, become as corrosive to an organization and it’s leadership, as the gradual dripping of acid on metal.
Leaders are role models, whether they personally desire to be or not. The courage to build relationships that affect what followers repeat, believe, and do, is the only courage that matters.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org