If you are going to be a leader, you better be “walking the walk”…

In the Leadership Challenge, the VERY first behavior is all about setting an example:

Behavior #1. I set a personal example of what I expect of others.

I am sure that you have heard the old saying… “If you are gonna talk the talk, you better walk the walk.”

This statement is incredibly true and accurate when it comes to leadership because your actions speak so loudly, that no one will be hearing what you are saying.

That is what it is so important to not only set a personal example of what you expect from others by being explicitly clear with your words, but also to show them through your daily actions.

Robert Shindell - Walking the walk

Leaders establish principles concerning the way people (constituents, peers, colleagues, and customers alike) should be treated and the way they should pursue goals. Leaders create standards of excellence and set an example for others to follow. They put up signposts when people feel unsure of where to go or how to get there. Leaders create opportunities for victory.

I am sure that you have seen the film “Braveheart”.  A classic historical action-drama movie produced, directed and starred by Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays a legendary Scotsman, William Wallace, who gained recognition when he came to the forefront of the First War of Scottish Independence by opposing Edward I of England.

There are so many amazing scenes in this film where William Wallace tells his followers what his expectations are.  But what is even more powerful are his actions throughout the film.  Gibson’s character consistently shows leadership rather than talking about it.  This was in stark contrast from his adversaries, the English monarchy, who are consistently telling others what to do.

The end result (and I’ll try not to be a spoiler if you have not seen the film) does not work out so well for William Wallace personally, but through his actions he inspired an entire nation of people to rise against oppression and seek freedom.

A great example that when our actions and our words are in alignment – great things can happen.

Check out this video focused on aligning your values with our work – https://youtu.be/zzvsyr8U3IM – to create a force for good!

To learn more about me, click here.


My leadership journey began more than than 25 years ago with The Leadership Challenge, the most trusted source on becoming a better leader.  So far, more than 2 million copies of the book have been published in over in over 20 languages. Based on Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s extensive global research, this life changing approach to leadership and their enduring work is critical to help us navigate the world of work today.  The basic premise is that leadership is a relationship that must be nurtured and, most important, that it can be learned.