Do you lead by example?

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My blog topic this week was inspired by some things I have witnessed this season on the football pitch, but I think has relevance for all of us in all walks of life.

In football each team has a captain. This player leads the team out and wears a captain’s armband to signify he or she is the captain of the team. The captain is really just the clubs appointed ambassador on the pitch. The job description of the captain is very unofficial, but in the eyes of many fans, their role is to motivate, organise and encourage the players around them, on top of this it is seen that their role is to lead by example when it comes to their play and their attitude. The captain can also have the role of keeping the behavior of their team in check.

Sadly this season I have noticed several times where captains have fallen short of this ideal, that we as fans have for them. We have seen Rio Ferdinand of QPR grabbing a player by the throat, Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham pushing a player over and Joey Barton also of QPR hitting a player, all of these acts committed whilst wearing the captain armband for their team.

Is a leader a role model?

I’m sure if you asked most clubs, publically would say they wanted their captain to uphold the image of the club and be a role model but in private I am sure the clubs biggest concern is just winning games. The bigger question is – should professional footballers have to be role models?

Sport is a competitive environment where the idea of any game is to beat your opponent. In professional football the sport is a business with each team and player wanting to earn the most money as possible and be as successful as possible. To do all these things you don’t need role models. Just because people choose to watch professional football it is not up to the football world to react to what the fans want, as it is the fans choice if they watch or not. As a fan you can’t just expect or want players to be role models, for it to happen. Being a role model is the decision of each and every player and theirs alone.

How do you want to be viewed?

I think it is up to each and everyone of us to decide how we want to be viewed and what standards we want to live by. We are all a brand and we need to represent ourselves in the way we want to be seen. What you say and do impacts on the way others view you and in this day and age that is very important. I think we all need to take time to decide what we want to be remembered for and then come up with an action plan of what we are going to do to make sure we are thought of in that way. Like how I feel that there should be an official job description for a football captain, I think we should all make our own job descriptions for the role of the person we want to be.

Returning to the subject of the blog after that ever so slight tangent, I think it is important that we all lead by example. The example however shouldn’t be about what others think it is or what you perceive it to be, it should be about leading by the example you have set for yourself. Don’t be limited by other people’s example, because your example might be way higher.

What example will you lead by?

Many people when they think of the word lead or leading immediately think of followers or following. I however think that leading is about setting yourself apart and trying to be better than the competition. You should never want to lead with the expectation of others following you. If you set a great example then others may follow, but the number of followers has no reflection on if you are setting the right example or not.

What I am trying to say is that we can all be leaders in our own way and you don’t have to await for an official position to be bestowed upon you to become one. There are many ways you can lead and be a leader, a lot of great leaders out there I don’t think would even call themselves leaders. As long as you have set yourselves standards and are living to them you have learnt to lead.

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