“Bye bye”, my colleagues closes the meeting in a quite melodic way. I need to smile. He just copied tone and text from his boss. Probably unconscious. He just imitated what he had heard like a million times.
Although we all want to be unique, it is quite human to mimic people with whom we interact often. This is how we are created. Children learn by mimicking their parents. Later they copy teachers, their peers or their sports mates. There is no offense in acting similar to the people around us.
This is also true when it comes to leadership. As leaders we don’t need to tell our people how to lead others. They will just do what they have seen us doing – the good, the bad, the ugly.
You will probably behave like your bosses did. And your people will copy aspects from you.
All of this happens as soon as you enter into a leadership role. No one asks you whether you are ready for it. It just happens. And as no one is a full-blown-leader from day 1, we all start leadership by mimicking behavior we have seen in the past.
How do you feel when thinking about this reality?
To me, it sounds a bit frightening. As my goal is to spread good leadership, the ambition is high. And at the same time, a lot of pressure is falling off. I don’t have to tell people how to behave. I need to get my self-leadership straight – and I can trust the mimicking process that people will start behaving similarly.
So let me ask you this: what do you like about your leadership style? What would be nice if people start copying?
[Thanks for investing in your self-leadership today! Your team will be thankful for it.]