Father’s Day is over. My first year without buying a card or calling my Dad. At some point, we pass this mile marker in which a father or mother dies. Worse, some never experience a father or mother being present in their lives. In their physical or emotional absence, we search for other examples. We search for the relationships that embrace the best of a father and mother.

Examples empower. Two words that resonate deep. If we are not being a good example, what are we empowering?

The current election cycle is a unique one. Think of the Trump example. Derogatory remarks toward women, immigrants, judges, and more. What ricochets are voices that return the bullying and hateful words to new levels of divide. The worst a leader can do is tap into the worst in others. Being a bully and foul person may

power of example

arouse emotions, but are we raising the mindset and soul of a community to be better citizens?

What baffles me is that we launch nationwide organizations to prevent bullying, yet too many are rallying around a bully-in-chief. We are off balance.

I understand that our system has failed many, along with leaders who lacked integrity. From bank bailouts to corporate layoffs to stalemated congress, gaps have grown. We are getting better at widening gaps rather than closing them. We need to shift our thinking and actions in how we can lift people up economically, spiritually, emotionally, and collaboratively.

We need to set a better example.

My Dad said less and did more. A leadership example we need to revive. Being an example is about doing good, doing right, and doing things together to create a better future. My Dad was a simple leader, yet he set an example that people understood and tried to exemplify in their own lives. I try to follow his example as often as I can.

We must double our efforts to be a better example that brings out the best in ourselves and others.

My Dad was a farmer from childhood to his grave. Being a farmer is being a servant leader. You care for the land and animals. More importantly, you care for your family and community. Farmers serve. They try to care more than the year before. Planting and harvesting crops do this, so does working to provide for your family and community.

Farmers understand the content of the soil needs to be tended to for continued growth. Farmers also understand the content of our character needs to be tended to for soulful growth, bringing out the best in people and creating a better future for the next generation.

Maybe we need to replace the Iowa Caucus process with having the presidential candidates spend one month on a working farm. Maybe any leader who betrays the trust of the people they serve should be sent to a working farm. The point is leaders need to be more empathetic to the people who get their hands dirty doing the daily work to grow and provide for those nearest them and beyond their community boundaries. Leaders need to be honest while being civil. We need to re-center our leadership soul, work, and character.

Leaders need to be honest while being civil. We need to re-center our leadership soul, work, and character.

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Although I mentioned Trump earlier, this post is not about him. Right now, he is the best example of what not to do as a leader. Rather than follow his lead, we need to reflect and enhance the way we lead. We need to lead more productively and empathetically to close gaps and enliven the best in others.

The Power of Example – Focus Areas

The power of example should be woven through many aspects of our leadership. The power of example centers on doing good, bringing out the best in people, nature, business, government, and other facets of our society. With a farmer as an example, four powerful examples emerge as a solid starting point.

Example of Resilient Compassion

Farmers face uncertainty. Weather can make or break a crop. Outside of the day-to-day farming challenges, they encounter similar family and community tests as anyone else. The Midwestern shield may rise yet underneath a compassion shines. Caring words. Helping hands. Being present.

No matter the challenge, leaders rise up and care. The care stretches to people, land, nature, and much more. Compassion is not weak. The opposite. Compassion requires an inner strength to stand up and act and sit down and listen.

Example of Self-Sufficiency

Compassion is not a handout; it is a hand up. Farmers are self-sufficient as much as possible. They eat what they grow. They produce for others in a market-oriented way. They care for their acreage in what it delivers to their survival in the short and long term. A legacy in the land endures.

A sense of individualism exists in being self-sufficient. However, intertwined with the individualism is a sense of community. An understanding of responsibility resides in both. An individual and a community contain a seed of interdependence. With interdependence, everyone carries a responsibility.

Example of Calmness

Famers are the center of a storm, the calm-minded leader who deal with what is and finds a solution for a better way forward. Being calm embraces a mindfulness of a situation. Calmness is not an absence. Calmness is being present in bringing thoughts and actions together for a better outcome.

Being loud does not always solve a problem and may create more. Being loud usually means a lot of words and little substantive action. Calm leaders produce by thinking deeply and collaborating diversely.

Example of Faith Works

Farmers know that faith shows up when they show up and do the work. Being present is a part of the formula, and doing the work is the other. Within both, faith in humankind surges. Faith in finding a better solution to fix a current problem for a better future gains strength. Working with others openly, transparently, and collaboratively renews and fortifies faith in others.

Great leaders understand the interconnected nature of faith and good works. Great leaders tap into this center from within and expand it to all they work with.

The Power of Example – For the Good of All

We are leading in a time in which we need to bring out the best in all. We have too many problems to solve and numerous gaps to close. As leaders, this is our time to be a positive power in the constructive examples we deliver.

We have a choice.

  • We can set an example of divisiveness, stalemate, and decline.
  • We can set an example of diversity, progress, and betterment.

My hope is we follow the farmer’s example and lead to bring people together, solve problems, and create a constructive future. Betterment needs to be our leadership example.

Are you ready to be a positive example? Are you ready to set a new leadership standard?

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Note: A call to be better leaders is made. Join me in signing the True Leader Creed & Code of Conduct. Read through it, think about it, join us, and share.

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