The messenger must be the message. The most effective communication is face-to-face. But the most believable communication is behavior. We would all much rather see than hear a sermon. Many well intentioned managers lead change or improvement efforts Involved Leadershipthat are all about changing everyone else while they carry on pretty much as before. They’re preaching team and organizational change while they continue to do the same things.

“Example has more followers than reason.”
– Christian Nestell Bovee, 19th century American author

“And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true;
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give;
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.”
– Edgar A. Guest, early 20th century English-born American poet

“High levels of emotional intelligence, our research showed, create climates in which information sharing, trust, healthy risk-taking, and learning flourish. Low levels of emotional intelligence create climates rife with fear and anxiety. Because tense or terrified employees can be very productive in the short term, their organizations may post good results, but they never last….emotional intelligence is carried through an organization like electricity through wires. To be more specific, the leader’s mood is quite literally contagious, spreading quickly and inexorably throughout the business.”
– “Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance,” Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Harvard Business Review

“You can’t talk your way out of something you behaved your way into.”
– Author Unknown

“A stained carpet in the office or a burned-out reading light on an airplane may seem inconsequential. But when management ignores such trivial irritations, it is effectively telling employees or customers that they don’t matter…an organization’s true priorities are revealed by the small stuff…customers who are ill-treated by a poorly trained associate, or employees working side by side with someone clearly incompetent, surmise that the business doesn’t respect them.”
Harvard Business Review editor, Leigh Buchanan, on Michael Levine’s book Broken Windows, Broken Business: How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards

“He first practices what he preaches and then preaches according to his practice.”
– Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher and teacher

“Watch a man in times of … adversity to discover what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off.”
– Lucretius, Roman poet philosopher

Further Reading: