Dr. Robert Cialdinis in his book Influence Science and Practice describes a test that really happened in the streets of Chicago.
The test consisted of a brand new car being left overnight in a shabby Chicago neighborhood. But when the research authors came back the next day to pick the car up, the car was left there undamaged and untouched.
Few weeks later they repeated the test, but this time they left a car with one broken window stand there overnight. When they returned, the car was completely smashed and all 4 tyres were missing.
This experiment clearly confirms the universal human behavior – if people don’t know what to do and how to behave, they look for someone equal to them who will “teach” them.
As soon as one person sets an example which can be followed, others follow him.
Understanding this principle is the key towards becoming a leader in just about every professional situation.
Our influence on our surroundings depends to a great extent from the ability to go into something first, so becoming an example of what we want to achieve from others.
Do you want your team to be more experimental, even though they would be making more mistakes?
Be the first and lead by example. Experiment before the eyes of everyone else, make mistakes and be clear that there is nothing wrong with that.
Do you want your clients and company partners to honestly tell you, what situation they are in?
Lead by example and tell them what your situation is, even if it meant that after such confession you wouldn’t look like the ideal manager anymore.
Don’t be afraid to make the first step. The majority of the world’s population does not belong among leaders and innovators, so asking them what do they think about ideas that are outside of their normal line of thinking just does not make any sense.
Let us look at some examples from history:
As a leader, you must expect resistance and even rejection, but that is the price you have to pay for innovation.
So if you want to be a leader, you must be willing to lead. And by leading we mean- lead by example.