Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: role model

You are a role model – so walk the talk!

role modelAbout three years ago, I blogged about a very disturbing situation involving a Texas (so-called) veterinarian Kristen Lindsey and her now infamous cat kill.  As difficult as it was to write it, I knew it was important to do so, because I wanted to underscore a very important leadership message.  Which is: you are a role model. Whether you know it, whether you want it, people are watching you, and you have a standard of behaviour to uphold. It’s critically important as a leader to walk the talk.  If you want your employees to act and behave in a certain way, then you need to model that behaviour.  Well this fundamental leadership tenet came up in several discussions with client groups just in the past couple of weeks, so I felt it was worth addressing again today.

You are a role model (whether or not you want to be!)

It’s important as a leader to recognize that you are a role model, and therefore you need to be thoughtful about how you behave and act.  Here are some examples of scenarios described to me recently, where people just didn’t get how important this is: Continue reading

Positive role models exist everywhere!

A couple of years ago, I posted a video on the blog under the title of You are a role model. The video had a lot of great messages in it, but more than anything else, it illustrated something that I repeatedly tell leaders – “You are role models.  Whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, your people are watching you, and your behaviour and actions will determine how they behave and act.”  And it really doesn’t matter if it’s at home or at work!

Recently I came across another video that conveyed the same message (and brought a tear to my eye) so I couldn’t resist sharing. Here it is (it is in Thai, but it has English subtitles):

My primary reason for sharing the video with you is to illustrate the importance of being a positive role model in all arenas of your life. But I know there is more than one leadership (and life) lesson to be learned here. What did you get out of this video?  Please share by adding to the Comments below.

P.S. In case you were wondering, this is actually an advert for a Thai mobile company. Cool, huh?

If you are not a positive role model, you cannot be a leader

Today’s post is about an event that happened back in mid-April. I’ve waited this long to blog about it because I found this incident very disturbing, and it’s taken me a while to be able to write about it without feeling sick. Those of you who know me personally are aware that I love animals which is why this particular story is very distasteful. As repulsive as I find it though, my point in posting is not about the event itself, but rather about the leadership message that lies deep within. First though, let me tell you the story (which you may have already heard about through other sources).

Kristen Lindsey, a veterinarian in Austin County, Texas posted a photo of herself on Facebook proudly holding up a cat she had shot and killed with a bow and arrow along with the words,

My first bow kill lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s head. Vet of the year award…gladly accepted!

Not surprisingly, the photo went viral. A defiant Lindsey then posted on Facebook:

No I did not lose my job. Lol. Psshh. Like someone would get rid of me. I’m awesome!

Turns out she was wrong. Continue reading

A strong organizational culture creates customer loyalty

“Vision, mission and values … those are just meaningless words on a wall poster!  In fact, most employees couldn’t even tell you one-quarter of what the sign says”, scoffs one manager I know.

DoTheRightThingUnfortunately, this is a sentiment that I hear more often than I’d like!  When senior leaders in organizations spend time (hours, sometimes even days) developing the vision, mission and core values for their company, their ultimate wish is that their employees will take these principles and ideals to heart; in fact, their hope is that the values become so firmly entrenched in the minds and actions of their employees that it becomes an integral part of the organizational culture.  But with prevailing sentiments much like the above, should leaders even bother?  Well my answer is, unequivocally, “yes”!  Not only is it possible to get all your employees on the same page when it comes to corporate values, but those companies who do, reap the benefit of enthusiastic customer loyalty, highly-engaged employees and bottom-line profitability.  A couple of years ago, I wrote about an experience with Tim Hortons that proves this point.  And just recently, it became apparent to me, once again, that when leaders live and breathe their core values, highly-engaged employees do the same, and that leads to the ultimate bottom-line outcome – loyal repeat customers who become word-of-mouth advocates to the people they know!

My most recent experience was with the adventure travel company G AdventuresContinue reading

You are a role model!

Given that today is Valentine’s Day, I thought that this video titled “If you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own” is VERY appropriate.  Just to set expectations though, it has absolutely nothing to do with romance!  It’s less than five minutes long, so I hope you’ll take the time to watch it – it struck a chord with me for several reasons – one of them not so obvious.

This video has a lot of great messages in it, but I have one that most people don’t immediately see.  What this video really illustrated to me is the importance of role models.  I repeatedly tell leaders – “You are role models.  Whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, your people are watching you, and your behaviour and actions will determine how they behave and act.”  And it really doesn’t matter if it’s at home or at work!

What else does this video say to you? Please share.

Everyone needs a role model or mentor

In December 2004, a frightened baby hippo became an orphan as a result of a devastating tsunami that swept the shores of Kenya.  Stranded on a coral reef, he was ultimately rescued, and since there was no way to return him to the wild, he was placed in Haller Park Sanctuary in Mombasa.  Scared and frightened, and no doubt searching for his mother, little Owen got close and comfortable with a grumpy 130-year old Aldabra giant tortoise called Mzee.  Perhaps Mzee’s round shape and gray colour reminded Owen of his mother.  At first, the tortoise wanted nothing to do with the hippo, but Owen persisted.  Eventually, the bond between hippo and tortoise strengthened and two became inseparable.  They roused each other for meals, spent hours wallowing in the pond together, and snuggled up side by side each night.  In fact, for a while, Owen behaved more like a tortoise than a hippo.  He ate tortoise food, such as leaves and carrots (and ignored the grasses that hippos normally eat).  He slept at night, not during the day as wild hippos do.  Continue reading

You create the culture in your organization

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – You are a role model. Whether you realize it, whether you want it or want nothing to do with it, you have no choice; you are a role model. Your actions will create your organizational or departmental culture. Your employees look to you for leadership and direction and they will emulate your behaviour. Which means that you better be modeling whatever it is you want them to do and say.

I was reminded of this … in a very positive way … just last week. I was delivering a keynote at the Leadership Symposium for the quintessential Canadian brand Tim Hortons. Not only was it a learning event for their restaurant owners from across the Canada and United States but it was also a celebration and demonstration of what this company does so well – commit fully to people, customer service and community leadership. Tim Hortons proudly proclaims that they touch the lives of hundreds of people in their community. Whether it’s remembering a guest’s order or greeting a guest by name, they bring a personal touch to every guest’s visit. And I unexpectedly, and very pleasantly, discovered this to be true for myself. Let me tell you what happened. Continue reading