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If - You can lead by example

So many leaders can tell you the right thing to do, but the best leaders lead by example.  And, that example trickles down throughout an organization.  When employees see the boss 'doing the right thing' when it comes to tough choices, they'll do the same.  Conversely, when they see the boss cutting corners and treating people poorly, it sets off a lot of dysfunction.

When I was in fifth grade, we had to memorize a poem.  It's probably the only poem I every memorized.  Amazingly, I still remember much of it today.  The poem was If by Rudyard Kipling.  It starts like this:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

I re-read the poem today, and, other than the sexist ending (you'll be a Man my son!), it has a lot of application to today's entrepreneurs.  Maybe that's why it stuck with me.

I thought of this today when I heard this interview with Tom Brady, QB of the New England Patriots.  This is Brady's weekly interview on WEEI in Boston.  But, since the Patriots didn't play yesterday, they asked Tom about his off-field life and, particularly, how he deals with all the harrassment he gets from fans and papparazzi.

I came away from the interview very impressed with Tom Brady's level-headed approach to dealing with having such a public life.  And, I'm sure that his leadership style has influenced many other Patriot players.  He's the kind of guy you'd build a team around, on and off the field.  He fits the mold that Rudyard Kipling had in mind.

By the way, here's a line from the poem particularly suited to entrepreneurs:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;


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