“I wish I could be like you,” Gemma says to her father who is her idol and at the age of 10 years old, she is still in awe of him. He has all the answers she ever needs and for her, he is her complete world for, at this time, he is her role model.
Children develop as the result of their experiences and relationships and the automatic identification of role models plays a vital part in inspiring them to learn how to overcome obstacles that stand in the path of reaching personal goals.
So whether you, personally, are a parent, teacher or just someone who enters into a child’s life, you have the ability to inspire that child into believing in themselves to learn that they have the capability to make a difference. Do you set a good example for others to follow – either in the workplace or at home because role modelling encourages a behaviour-set that can lead to a more effective organisation and self-awareness?
What does it mean to be a role model?
A role model is someone who serves as an exemplar, whose consistent behaviour is emulated by others. Many of us have leadership roles, yet we have probably never received guidance on how to consciously set an example for others to follow.
Have you got what it takes to be a role model?
The strength of a role model is likely to depend on strong communication skills, including attentive listening and the ability to build rapport. Research indicates that the greatest influence on individual employee engagement is his or her direct line- manager.
What is the value of role models?
Role modelling provides continuity and maintenance of high standards. Leaders who are good role models not only pay attention to their individual actions and behaviour, they encourage teamwork and co-operation; support others in their growth and development whilst recognising the value of the behaviours and attitudes that they display.
Role model traits – where do you fit?
Have passion and the ability to inspire? Role models show passion for their work and enthuse others along the way. They are dedicated to passing on their skills and knowledge and empowering others both meaningfully and measurably.
Have a clear set of values? Role models demonstrate their values to the world. Team members will respect and admire someone who acts in a way that supports their beliefs and helps them to understand how their own values are integral to their success.
Give commitment to community? Role models are ‘other-focused’ as opposed to ‘self-centric’ and will usually give freely of their time and talents to benefit others. For example, colleagues will invariably admire individuals who give time to charitable work and reach out to those in need.
Pride yourself on people skills? Be aware of and seek to develop people skills. Be visible and walk-the-talk to make the time to speak to others.
Acknowledge work well done? Encourage specific peer praise rather than being negative about employees who fail to meet set standards.
Communicate expectations? Communicate to others the standards you expect and ensure that you consistently apply those standards.
Acceptance of others? People will admire those who demonstrate a non-judgemental acceptance of others who are different from themselves in terms of cultural background or social barriers. They will tend to recognise the needs of others and to act upon them accordingly – no matter what the difference in background or circumstance.
Pride yourself on overcoming obstacles? Role models believe that success is possible and obstacles are challenges to be overcome. They will show others how to gain a new perspective in order to triumph over adversity and to see how setbacks can be transformed into new starting points.
Take charge? Role models are accountable and readily accept responsibility for their own actions and the decisions that they make.
Move beyond your own self-limiting beliefs? Role models understand that many difficulties are self-limiting, then implement strategies to move beyond them.
Research supports the importance of mutual trust, commitment, acceptance, empathy, stability and support. If you seek to encourage these characteristics into your organisation, then these attributes should be clear to others from your personal example.
- Role models serve a vital purpose within organisations
- They assist personal development and team dynamics
- To be an exemplar in life is to be a true leader
Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.
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