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Don’t Tell Me, Show Me

By Shawn Stratton | Follow him on Twitter

Mother and Daughter carry rebar in the Indian Himalayas Copyright Shawn Stratton

For you to earn respect as a leader, it is important that you show your team that you are knowledgeable, passionate, and committed to it and its stated goals. Your team relies on you as a leader not just to motivate or inspire them, but also to provide solutions to problems. Being knowledgeable in your field and knowing the roles of each team member will earn you their respect and attention.

Lead by example: model those roles and behaviours you expect from your team.

Live by your word; don’t merely offer lip service. If you announce to your team that weekends are to be work-free, do not send emails during that specified time expecting them to read it. An effective role model is one who backs his or her words with actions, seeks and accepts feedback, and continually grows and improves. Understand that the leader dictates the mood and work culture in which a team operates. Consistently do your part—and more—and treat your team with respect; they will reciprocate. Be mindful that even leaders mess up; do acknowledge your mistake, apologize, and work to ensure it isn’t repeated. How you choose to handle mistakes or problems also teaches and motivates your team. Inspire your team by practicing the ATS rule: do your part AND THEN SOME Tweet: Inspire your team by practicing the ATS rule: do your part AND THEN SOME Acting as a role model challenges you as a leader to bring your best self to the job, daily. Motivate team members by modeling how they should conduct themselves, and your passion for them as individual team members and your commitment to the goal of the team will be evident.


Shawn has a Masters in Leadership and devoted 15 years to   wilderness leadership expeditions as a senior instructor with the National Outdoors Leadership School and other international organizations. His skill for fostering powerful teams has made him an international speaker, workshop leader, business consultant, and author of bestseller TEAMS ON THE EDGE: Stories and Lessons from Wilderness Expedition. Follow him on TwitterFacebook, or Google Plus