Our Actions Create Followers More Than Our Words

Written by Dave Anderson on Sep 20, 2018
Our Actions Create Followers More Than Our Words

Our actions create followers more than our words do. The actions of an introverted Leader of Character will lead a team to excellence before the eloquent words of hypocritical extrovert. 

Thank goodness politicians are not the only examples we have for leadership. Rarely do their words match their actions. They may be great speakers, but who cares! Our words mean nothing unless our actions follow those words.

The Leader of Character understands the old saying “More is caught than taught.” There are no days off from leading. We influence people around us even when we are not trying to do it.

As young parents you learn quickly that the children are always watching you. And despite whatever you may tell them to do, they are much more likely to imitate your actions than they are to follow your words. The exact same is true for leaders at work.

The words of a leader mean very little to my people if we do not model the behaviors we claim to be important. If we claim to our team that Integrity is a core value and then ask an assistant to tell someone we are in a meeting when we are not, that action will have more influence than any of our well thought out words.

Andersons’ 12 Word (or less) Definition of Duty

Taking action based on both our assigned tasks and moral obligations.

 It is our Duty to set the example for those we lead.

We must set the example in Courage, Humility, Integrity, Selflessness, Duty and Positivity for everyone we are responsible for leading. EVERY choice we make as leaders is a choice between influencing people in a positive or a negative way. There is no middle ground.

Actions Create Followers

If we want to be a Leader of Character, we truly believe it is our Duty wield positive influence on everyone we meet.

Leaders of Character believe:

  • If I say I am going to do something, I will do it.
  • If I say I will be somewhere at 10am, I will be there.
  • If I say I will complete a project by a particular date, I will complete it.
  • If I see something that needs to be done, I will do it.
  • If I can help someone get better, I will push them to grow.
  • If I tell my kids I will be at their school play, I will be there.
  • If I accept a paycheck from my employer, I will do my job to the best of my abilities
  • If I do not do the things listed above, I will own my failure, fix it, and do better next time.

Imagine what it would be like to be led by a person who’s habits matched the words above. Who wouldn’t want to be around a person with that sense of Duty? This is how our actions create followers.

The Bottom Line: 

Doing our Duty and setting the example is a habit that is formed in the small tests just like the Habits of Character like Courage, Humility, Integrity, Selflessness and Positivity. They are all connected with each other and are all dependent on practice.

Leader of Character is not selective about when she does her Duty. She does it because she has developed it into a Habit of Character through intentional and consistent exercising Duty muscles. She breaks a sweat in practice so she is ready for game day.


What other moral obligations do leaders have besides setting the example?


By Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson is coauthor of Becoming a Leader of Character – Six Habits that Make or Break a Leader at Work and at Home with his father General James L. Anderson (USA Retired).

Photo courtesy of author