Leadership and the Law of Replication

My dad was injured in the Korean War, a few years before I was born. As a result of that injury, he walks with a limp. As a young boy, I unconsciously emulated him. I just thought that was the way grown men walked.

Leadership and the Law of Replication

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/JLBarranco

When I was about three or four, I remember my Mom saying to me, “Michael, you don’t need to walk with a limp. Dad walks that way because he was hurt in the war.” Regardless, I still walked with a limp for another year or so, simply because I wanted to be like my dad.This was the “law of replication” in action. This law says that like begets like. Dogs beget dogs. Trees beget trees. And people beget people.

This law also applies to leadership. Like it or not, you will replicate yourself. Your followers will adopt your behaviors, habits, and—if you have a strong personality— even your mannerisms.

Years ago, I remember visiting one of our authors at his corporate headquarters. I was amused to see his staff imitating him, down to the cadence of his speech and the inflection of his voice. It was as if they were paid impersonators.

This has powerful implications for leadership. Unconsciously, your people will mimic you. This means:

  • If you are late to meetings, your people will be late to meetings.
  • If you don’t take notes in meetings, your people won’t take notes in meetings.
  • If you are angry and defensive when you get negative feedback, your people will be angry and defensive when they get negative feedback.


  • If you are humble and grateful, your people will be humble and grateful.
  • If you are warm and engaging, your people will be warm and engaging.
  • If you are even-tempered and unflinching under fire, your people will be even-tempered and unflinching under fire.

Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I would add, “Be the change you want to see in your organization.” If you don’t like the culture of your department, division, or company, start by changing yourself. Set a new standard. Let your word become flesh. This is the most powerful thing you can do to change your world.

The bottom line is that you are the prototype for your followers. Your actions speak louder than words. You must pay careful attention to your own behavior. You are a living example of what it takes to go to the next level. You will replicate yourself.

Question: If your people imitated you in everything you do, would you be happy with their performance? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.acalltoaction.net/ Trevor Wilson

    This is great advice. Lead by example. It’s the only true means of “leading” anyway. Everything else is just “directing.”

    As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you plan to be a successful leader, better make yourself worth imitating.


    • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

       I love your distinction between “leading” and “directing”. This morning I saw an interview with a direct-report of the CEO of Zappos. She said that Mr. Hsieh doesn’t make decisions– he presents ideas and allows his team to decide whether to pursue them or not. Influencing people to believe in your ideas is the basis of leadership. Great thought!

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Did you see that interview online? If there’s a link, I’d love to watch it. Thanks, Justin.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    I hope they don’t replicate everything I do, but I do try to live out my values in front of them.

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    In general, yes. However, I have to admit there are two areas I’m trying to improve and hope nobody has picked up on yet. Knowing that others are imitating you is a great incentive to change!

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    As I tell all of my clients about leadership. The parenting law – it’s what our children see us doing, less what we tell them.

  • FromHisPresence

    I love this post! One leader can make such a difference in his/her people. That leader could even be someone with no official title who just decides to make a difference, like Seth Godin talks about in Tribes. All we have to do is decide we want to be the one to make that difference!

  • http://www.momsmustardseeds.com/ Rebecca Brandt

    So true.  I have had the opportunity to work under the leadership of all personality traits.  Those who exemplify the truth of Christ – with humility and a grateful attitude are the ones who have lasting impact in positive ways for the world

  • http://www.martinamcgowan.com/ Martina McGowan

    I wouldn’t expect that people replicate everything I do, but I think it is the leader’s duty to model the behavior they wish to see in others. If you want people to give and be their best, then they should catch you doing the same, regularly.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Your picture reminds me of Phil Mickelson (arguably the second best golfer over the past 20 years).

    He is actually right-handed but plays golf left-handed. The reason is that he mirrored his father’s swing, which meant he played left-handed. And it stuck.

    I’ve determined that no child is born with an innate ability to know how to live life. It all comes from observation. And they spend the overwhelming majority of their time with their parents at first.

    So if I overreact to a dish breaking, they will too most likely.

    If I eat sweets before bed or Lucky Charms for breakfast (http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/how-leaders-must-set-an-example-109/) they will too.

    In a good way, in a bad way, in whatever way you make it, their eyes are on you.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      You’re so right, Matt. Now that I have grown children I’ve seen the (sometimes painful) truth of that. The good news is it’s never too late to set a different example.

  • http://www.dougsmithlive.com/ Doug Smith

    This question should be on a plaque on every leaders desk: ” If your people imitated you in everything you do, would you be happy with their performance?”

    I’m going to keep that in front of me from now on! Thanks for the challenge!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I agree. Such a powerful (and humbling) question!


    We can all learn from this, even our politicians.  ‘Do as I say, or do as I do?’  Knowing what you should do and what you actually do, are often different things.  Thank you.

  • Maxineraeb

    This is an amazing piece of writing and if only more people adopt it; how great would that be?

  • Jamie Chavez

    It just astounds me to find a story just like mine! My mother had polio when she was 4 and always walked with a limp. When she had me, her first child, I didn’t walk at all until I was 15 months old, and when I did, it was with a limp. They took me to several doctors and were very worried until a wise nurse observed my mother and I walking away from her and observed that the limps were identical. Problem solved! (Though it may be why I still have problems with that hip.) Interesting post: a simple truth with a great image.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love this story, Jamie. Thanks for sharing it!

  • sixsteps268

    Hilariously true!  Even if you study pastors and teachers, you’ll see younger students adopting the same mannerisms and cadences.  As an experience architect, I listen to all kinds of podcasts from different organizations and churches, and I’ve always chuckled to myself when I hear this in action!

  • http://MainStStark.com Jeff ‘SKI’ Kinsey

    Absolutely. “Be the change” is one of my core values… along with the “customer is always the customer” [but they may not always be right!]. And the 4 hour work week is light years ahead of the 40, 50 or more hour work week. 

    P.S. Thanks for using disqus. It simply works. How cool is that?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yea, I love Disqus too.

  • Jason Fancy

    Wow. How true! How many times do we see the congregation assume the personal values of their pastor, the employees copy the bad attitudes modelled in the boardroom, and the frustrated salesmen who hang around negative fellow workers? I remember reading a study that clearly found that the income level of participants changed with the people the associated with. Associating with wealthier people invariably influenced their income up after a while. Surprise! The Bible is correct when it tells us that bad company corrupts good manners. Truth is truth and always will be. Thanks for the reminder Michael.

  • http://www.gauraw.com/ Kumar Gauraw

    Great advice. My business coach said two things when I started to build my organization. He said, to ask myself two questions before I planned to do anything new:
    1. Can my team replicate what I am about to do?
    2. Do I want them to replicate what I am about to do?
    And then he said,”If your answer to any of these questions is NO, then just don’t do it!” I follow this advice and it has been an awesome journey since.
    Thank you for bringing such a wonderful topic.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    This post applies to so much more than just office leadership. As a parent, I often see my reflection in my children’s actions. This can be a moment of pride, or a feeling of failure, depending on what I see.   Biblically, the unbelieving spouse can be brought to Christ just by seeing the gentle spirit of their believing spouse.  And we all know that one bad apple can spoil the bunch, because of the “law of replication.”
    As if often the case with Michael’s blog, this is a great post for life, not just work.  Thanks Michael!

    • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

       Parenting is a great leadership lesson! My 4-year-old son and I occasionally play MarioKart together on the Wii. He picks up on my mannerisms when I get hit with a turtle shell– and what do you think he does when it happens to him? Additionally, he can sense my disappointment when he isn’t motivated to win the game and is affected when I push him to perform better. “I’m sorry I didn’t win,” he told me one night. What a blow!

      Since, I’ve been challenged to put aside competitive drive once in a while to allow him to just enjoy PLAYING– even if it means driving off into the water and losing now and again. It’s difficult to walk the line between instilling a healthy competitive drive and passing on an obsession for winning or unhealthy addiction to recognition.

      Want to lead a team? Learn to lead a child!

    • Jim Martin

      This is very true, Kelly.  My children are grown.  Sometimes I will see something in them or hear them speak and it is all too familiar.  There are moments when I find that very encouraging.  At other times, these moments are humbling.  

      • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

        It gives our family great perspective when we listen to our kids repeat our language, sing songs we listen to, and respond to others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.c.norris.1 Susan Coggins Norris

    Michael, I totally agree.  Back when I taught elementary school one of my student’s families invited me to dinner.  Afterwards they said we were going to watch a short movie.  It was a video they made of their daughter without her knowledge.  She was playing school and she was the teacher.  It was unnerving to see how she had all of my mannerisms down.  It was like watching a mini version of me. She taught me A LOT that day.

    • Jim Martin

      What a powerful moment!  I suspect many of us underestimate the impact we are having on others, maybe in ways we never dreamed.

  • John

    That is a frightening and wonderful truth. I want to be like my heroes, so true. So I will study them, I will learn of them and from them (the alive ones) and I will pass the good stuff on to my kids, my wife, my grandchildren, and my peeps (friends). I will seek to be a worthy example to follow. My kids will tell you, I have a loooong way to grow.

  • http://twitter.com/ConnieAlmony Connie Almony

    What a touching story! A “little man” walking like his
    injured Daddy—too sweet.

    This reminds me of a teacher who, when the class became loud
    and unruly, would speak in a whisper-tone at the front of the room. Kids would
    quiet down just because they were curious about what she was saying and couldn’t
    hear it. It definitely works for me when dealing with my son, who has autism.
    Since beginning puberty, his frustration turns more aggressive than it used to,
    stomping and banging on walls. I used to yell at him to stop, which made him
    cry out in a loud voice. I now walk over to him and sit with him on the floor,
    speaking in a calm voice. I tell him how much I love him and pray with him. He
    calms down immediately.

  • http://www.UnwillingToSettle.com/ Greg L. Gilbert

    Great advice. None of us liked to hear “don’t do what I do, do what I say” as a child and yet many of us grow up and say the same words we hated. That makes us a hypocrite. Hypocrites don’t make good leaders. This also goes much deeper than the org chart. Your leadership (or lack of) will be carried home by your team to spouses and children. Neither of my parents ever whined, moaned or complained about their job or a leader so when I entered the workforce, I didn’t go looking for the negatives. Neither have my daughters. They didn’t know it but my parents leaders were also leading a young Greg Gilbert, his future wife and daughters. What a responsibility! I recently spoke to the leadership of my parents employer and was able to share this message. Learn and return.

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks Greg.  It is great to hear about the positive influence of your parents.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    This is a great post, Michael, and a profound Truth.  I would be happy with most everything if my “people” emulated me.  My biggest weakness, (at least as a parent of an eight year old), is that I can become easily frustrated.  

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    This a tough one, easy to say but very difficult to do.  Mike you are right on the spot, it is about things you do that your team will do.

  • http://www.liveyourwhy.net/ Terry Hadaway

    Having worked in two Christian corporations (a publisher and a church) characterized by authoritarian leadership, I’ve seen this principle in actions. The respect within an organization is inversely proportional to the ego at the top of the organization. These are wise words, Michael. Thanks.

  • Lindachurchwell

    Excellent Word, Michael. I’ve often felt God speaking this in my heart. “Being the change” can often be a rather lonesome walk, especially in the early stages.

    Pioneers accomplish great change, pay a price for their passion, but potentially reap tremendous reward. Jesus is our highest example! Blessings!

  • Sriram

    Completely agree with you Michael.

    One small suggestion – by Ghandi, I think you meant Gandhi. If so it will good to correct the spelling of the great man.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, you are correct. Thanks for pointing that out. I have fixed it.

  • http://www.healnowandforever.net/ Jodi Lobozzo Aman

    I have been keeping myself in check lately. Trying to be more conscious when I write an email, using a person’s name and being warm  outside the important context of the email. This takes time, but I want it done for me, so I need to do it. Also people really need some “Jodi Love” (my kindness). It makes a difference to them. 

  • Heman Smith

    Perfect, Michael.  The post caused me to reflect on leaders I have known across my life to-date.  My Dad, some managers and business owners, some church leaders.  Yet one of the most powerful has been my wife, Gail.  She has quietly led with constant humility and example, filled with love.  And I see the blessings across generations now because of it.

  • marinambfy

    This was an enjoyable read. I think it is a great eye opener for the followers or employees as well in any organization. You become in many extents the organization you work for. Your attitude, preferences and responses get shifted by those above and around you day in and day out. The begets rule reinforces in my mind that there are always to ends of the job interview table. The questions you bring to the table, and previous research, as a hire are vital in establishing whether you SHOULD be there at all. Dave Ramsey is always huge on continuously hiring and having an intense hiring program. I have always felt the same in hiring a boss. You need to do a lot of research on the front end but also always keep an eye out for other opportunities while you are employed so you have the benefit of auditioning positions without any desperation.

  • http://www.apprenticeshipofbeinghuman.com/ Graham Scharf

    Wise words. I’d extend it being the change you want to see from department, division,  and company . . . to family.  In fact, I think that’s where the primary emphasis should be.

    – You’re apprenticed to your parents from birth, so they affect you most profoundly. That’s why you walked with a limp – without even trying.

    – Your family relationships are [usually] more intimate and durable. Hopefully you’re in relationship with your parents, spouse and kids for longer than you work at a particular job.

    You’re absolutely right. “You are the prototype for your followers.” Especially your littlest ones.

    • Jim Martin

      Good point Graham.  This is a good reminder of the powerful impact that we have with our families.  My children are grown.  Yet, what I model, even at a distance, is meaningful to them (and humbling for me).

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    I’ve definitely experienced this. The way you value a project is the same way your team will value it.

    • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

       Absolutely, Katie! If you don’t believe your mission or invest in a project, why should your team?

  • Ericrather

    Great post, Mike….probably my favorite!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Eric.

  • http://about.me/revchadbrooks chadbrooks

    My Grandmother had polio as a child. When my Mother was a child they lived in a very rural area. My Mom dragged her right leg till she was 7 for the same reason. It’s a great story. I have never thought of how powerful an illustration it is for understanding the power of a leader.

    The tone a leader sets in dealing with stress also trickles down to their team. I have worked with 4 really different leaders who handle instantaneous stress really differently.  The way they dealt with it in public really set the bar for how those around them handle their own similar circumstances. The first time I had a boss “lose it” in front of others I promised to myself I would never let myself get that angry.

    Thanks for sharing today. Great words.

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks Chad for including the story about your grandmother.  It is a great story.

  • Carl

    One characteristic I’d want my followers to imitate more than anything is a desire to grow. I’ve seen numerous leaders who’ve failed to grow, as a result, their people have grown to become staggnic. 

  • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

    Great post, Mike! I think a lot of leaders start out with this thinking (“I will set the example/pace”) but devolve as their efforts aren’t immediately rewarded. It takes time to establish a culture; it takes time and effort to establish these practices with your people.

    Your point about replicating negative feedback! How many managers immediately shut down employees who question them in front of team members? These same managers might be heard complaining that their team members are hostile or defensive during coaching. These same managers can also be heard complaining about a lack of feedback. Stop bullying your employees! Start creating an environment that is healthy for your team members and good for your company– by creating new habits in yourself!

    • Jim Martin

      Justin, good point about the time it takes to establish a culture.  It takes a lot of time and consistency.  You are right, sometimes those efforts are not immediately rewarded.

      • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

         It can be hard to keep the faith! But if we “begin with the end in mind,” as Covey encourages, we can visualize what success will look like and work our way to it!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great point about time, Justin. I believe our motive has to go deeper than just seeing the external rewards. There has to be an intrinsic belief in the value or “worthiness” of positive leadership behaviors. Then, even when it takes time to see the results in our team, we’ll stick with it because we know it’s right.

  • http://twitter.com/MarisaWarren16 Marisa Warren

    Couldn’t agree more – leadership starts from the top.  Great article as always.  Thank you for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/MarisaWarren16 Marisa Warren

    Couldn’t agree more – leadership starts from the top.  Great article as always.  Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.designingachampion.com/ DrMatt

    A little sting in this article, but so true! I started noticing a few years back in my businesses that my people ended up being very similar to me in the way they spoke, thought, etc. Sometimes that was a good thing, and sometimes not. I started learning to change the “nots” and it has made a huge difference.

    • Jim Martin

      I can relate to your comment.  Sometimes it is encouraging to see your own behavior mirrored in those with whom you work.  At other times, it can be very sobering.  Thanks. 

  • deandeguara

    You see this a lot in church world. You ever hear a Calvary Chapel pastor. Many of them have a very familiar style and tone like Chuck Smith.

    I think I’ve always had a good work ethic and led by example but it hasn’t always translated well. I had to learn how to develop leaders around me so I was working smarter not harder.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Dean, I’m with you. It’s always interesting to look at churches and try to guess who they’re imitating. 

  • Jim Martin

    This is an outstanding post.  Very, very true!  When I was a young minister, my father-in-law gave me some very wise advice related to this post.  He said, “These people will take their cues from you.  If you always seem agitated and upset, they will become restless and agitated as you speak.  However, if you are calm and deliberate, people will learn to talk about difficult subjects in that manner.”  Very true! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Your father-in-law was a wise man. Thanks, Jim.

  • Larry Knight

    I’ve said to our leadership team…”you teach what you now you reproduce what you are”…how we forget we are reproducers. then we so quickly become frustrated by the way our leadership teams function. Thank you for the reminder to me to look at myself first. 

  • Kathleen

    Thankfully, I shared with my kids where I went wrong; and they chose a much more godly path. Now, they copy and I am a proud grandparent as well as a writer (sharing my ministry that came out of my mess). 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Kathleen, that’s terrific. Children need to see their parents step up and admit their mistakes. 

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    Wow, my wife and just had a conversation this morning, which confirms the ideals from this post.  We were discussing some frustrations with our kids, and I pointed out they are doing what they see us doing.

    Leadership applies in or families as well (it actually starts there)…and like or not we are replicating ourselves in our children.   Great post Michael!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      The fact that you and your wife are talking about it is the first step! Even that sets an example for your children.

      • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

        Good point…it does!  Thx! :)

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    This is keenly evident to parents (or should be). Great post–we all need to be aware of our actions. 

  • http://www.rachelmariemartin.com/ Rachel Martin

    This is excellent. 
    Several years ago a good friend of mine told me that in our homes we need to be the thermostat and not the thermometer. The thermometer mentality matches the mood of the home while the thermostat sets the mood and expectations. I love the principles that you shared and find them incredibly applicable to parenting as well. If I expect my children to speak kindly then I must model that behavior to them. If I expect them to seek to understand first, then again, this must come from me. 
    Wonderful words today. Thank you, Michael, for sharing these truths.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Almost everything I know about leadership I learned from parenting. I love the metaphor of a thermostat. Simple and brilliant.
      Thanks for sharing, Rachel.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    To me it always goes back to acting the way I would want people to act.  It’s not always flawless or pretty – but that’s my  goal in every interaction.  Would I want to be treated this way?  If I were on the receiving end, how would this make me feel?  If no one could provide feedback, would I be able to walk right in, and use what’s been created to complete a task?

  • Tdry

    Thank you for todays message. What a great reminder that if what we see in our team mirrors our behaviors, and there are concerns, time to look inward, and be the change.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      It’s a hard lesson Michael gave us today. I think you’ve captured the gist of it in your comment!

  • http://www.joshuabfarrell.com/ JB Farrell

    I have seen this principle in action for years, and I’ve seen leaders who can rise beyond this principle.
    One must be careful with expecting your team to be like you. As your team develops and attracts people with similar strategies, strengths,  and talents.   It creates gaps in your team.

    The best leaders recognize and empower the talents and strengths of those that work for them. 

    The article principle is foundation in leadership, we just don’t want to stay at the ground floor of leadership.  I think we all want to grow and build into great leaders.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Great question Michael. It really made me think. To be honest, I think there’d be a mix of emotions if my team imitated me. There’s days my performance level and attitude soars and days it drops. The days it drops are the days I’d regret them imitating me. 

  • http://twitter.com/stephblackbird Stephanie Blackbird

    So true!  I ask myself this – if everyone on my team did what I do, would my team grow?  Also, am I the kind of leader I would join? Thank you for a great article :)

  • http://www.faughnfamily.com/ Adam Faughn

    Love this post. How many kids emulate the batting, throwing, or shooting motion of a favorite athlete over and over in the backyard? Parents and leaders should see that simple illustration that we all look up and emulate people. Are we giving them a good picture to emulate? That’s always the question.

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  • Ian Eccles

    Very practical and on point.  Whether coaching, leading or teaching this advice is priceless.

  • Rick Smith

    BRAVO, Michael. 

  • Nathan

    Very true. Some of us probably grew up around poor examples and struggle with overcoming the replications that exist in us as a result. Another lesson in this… be careful who you follow.

  • Soumangue Basse

    Great post Mike. I would have said no a few weeks ago now.  But since getting focused and reenergized the last couple of days, I would say yes now.  Do my best to “crush it” in 2013

  • Belovediam7

    Oh wow!! What you have discussed here is completely true. Leadership is a lifetime lifestyle, and I am surely learning  a lot about it from you, Thank you Mr. Hyatt. God bless you.

  • Carina Pilar

    This is so true, I had a boss with some not so good habits, and his team got this, and was so distressful to see he didn’t know what to do, and because of that he keep being worse and his team keep following this bad line…

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  • http://www.chancescoggins.com/ chance

    I LOVE this post!  “Let your word become flesh.”  That sent shivers down my spine. Powerful writing!  Thank you for this post…and my family thanks you, too.

  • Draco24433

    If people imitated me, things would probably be very different and efficient but I have realized that no matter how worthy you are of being imitated, not everyone will follow. To me that is the greatest challenge and look forward to it.

  • Pavan_Ramdasi

    Well Out of my own experience I see people replicating the “easy to pick things” or lets say the ” cool to impersonate” tricks. I agree that a leaders habits of Discipline, Attention to detail etc are very important to the subordinates to emulate.

    The secret however is to understand the reasons behind it and also to give the same conviction as the leader does it with.

    This definitely will take them a long way.

  • http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/ Nathan Magnuson

    That’s a great post, Michael. Mannerisms and lingo are some of the easiest things to pick up, no matter if you are 3 or 30! Let’s hope my followers pick up my leadership mannerisms as well.

  • Joey Phillippi

    Michael, awesome post!  Your visual of showing your raw, pure, and true love for your father as a child, through the extra year of holding onto the limp was very powerful and emotional.  I strive to be a better model of myself every day and pray this creates empowerment in those around me to do the same.  I am aware I sometime have negative moments and down days, but I try to stop them as soon as I realize it is happening.  I am still human though so everything doesn’t go as plan.  I strive to learn from lessons I live through and not repeat them.  Actions are where people see your true worth.  I want to be the richest person I know due to my action’s values.  Spread love, change the world, and help women become confident in their skin.  I have a lot to improve, learn, and grow, and as long as you’re breathing, so do you.  Keep up the great work!  Looking forward to the next insightful post and/or podcast Michael.  Have a great day!      

    • Jim Martin

      Joey, I like what you say about realizing that you have “negative moments and down days.”  You attempt to stop them as soon as you realize what is happening.  I really like this.  It is so easy to rationalize instead of stopping the behavior.  (Especially true in the heat of the moment.)  Thanks! 

  • harrisonwilder

    So true.  My grandfather had a stiff knee and I still catch myself sticking my leg straight out when I cross my legs!  I know I can’t always model perfection.  This week I was mean to someone because I was annoyed.  I apologized the next day and renewed my commitment to show honor and respect for others, no matter how I feel.  Hopefully when I’m not perfect I can model enough respect for mankind to apologize.  That way if they don’t turn out perfect, at least they’ll know how to make things right.

    • Jim Martin

      Great point.  You model integrity as you take responsible for your own behavior and then apologize when it is called for. A very good reminder.  Thank! 

  • Sharon

    A totally humbling and punch in the stomach question….thank you for the reminder…as a parent and a leader in my business. Every day is work in progress… Thanks Michael. Yeah, I should have it on my desk and wall…

  • Russ Bergeman

    This article discusses a relatively
    obvious observation, but one that is often ignored, intentionally or
    unintentionally. The basic premise is that followers tend to replicate the
    behavior of their leaders. The premise makes sense and any of us with any
    experience in an organization will have undoubtedly observed this happening.


    The fact that it is human nature to want
    to imitate those in leadership positions brings up two interesting dilemmas;
    both revolve around the responsibility associated with being a leader.


    The first responsibility is to monitor and,
    ultimately, model positive behavior, especially the behavior that is expected
    from members of the organization. It is difficult to hold someone responsible
    and correct negative behavior that the boss is exhibiting.


    Second, a boss needs to be careful not
    to confuse performance with reflection. It is human nature to be drawn to
    people with similar tastes, attitudes, actions, etc. When a leader rewards only
    those who act like him or her there is a risk that the actions of those who are
    just as effective and productive within the organization may be ignored. There
    is no better way to run a good employee away from an organization than to ignore
    him or her in favor of someone whose only advantage is the replication of the


    Replication of a leader’s actions
    requires responsibility from both the leader and the follower. It is also
    important to keep this in mind as a responsible leader.

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  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    As I was reading this post, I thought about all of the times I have lost my temper or have said something I shouldn’t have said. Is it any wonder why my two boys occasionally lose their temper?

    Physician, heal thyself. :)

  • Robbie

    I find that being straight and honest with people is one of my better qualities that I hope might be imitated.

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  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    I had an interesting experience with this recently. I learned a trait from my dad that I’ve since learned that many people find incredibly irritating. Finally, after being married for about three years, my wife was sick of it so she told me about that trait and asked me to change, which I’ve been trying to do. However, a friend of mine has a very similar trait, and over and over again I find myself getting angry at her because of it.

    What I’ve come to realize is that I was blind about that trait in myself, but I found myself really irritated by it when others do it. Proof that we don’t always even realize what we’re doing, even when we see it in others.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great example, Rob.  Kudos to you for doing the important work of recognizing what needs to change.

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  • Bhorvath77

    Michael, thanks so much for sharing this post. I appreciate the fact that leaders follow their leaders yet I am at a place where I want to clean up some of my mistakes and win back some church ministry volunteers who I may have challenged a little too far regarding our vision statement. What’s the best way to acknowledge their hurts, apologize to them and thank them while encouraging their continued service& stopping the vision leak? I appreciate you and your wisdom, Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think you actually just outlined the steps: Acknowledge their hurts, apologize to them, encourage their service and support.

  • FourHourLeader

    This is an “eye opener” for many. Sometimes we simply tend to forget that it all starts with us. As a consequence, blaming others for problems is often a true time waster. We should learn to look to ourselves first to find solutions that change how we influence others.


    @4hourleader:disqus  fourhourleader.wordpress.com

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  • http://www.RayToenniessen.com/ Ray

    I think attitude is one of the biggest pieces of this. I always try to remember that the “attitude reflects leadership.” It’s amazing how you can turn an environment around as a leader just by changing your attitude, because it too will be replicated. Great thoughts!

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  • http://joewickman.com/ Joe Wickman

    “Like it or not, you will replicate yourself. ”
    Sometimes I haven’t liked what I’ve produced. After being exposed to a variety of leaders, I am glad that I have experienced each of their leadership styles. I hope I am emulating health that will cause me to like what I see when my actions and attitudes are replicated.
    Thank you!

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  • Chuskeybrooks

    Thank you for that reminder
    No matter where you are in life
    Someone is alongside of you-
    Make that impact positive and with a smile
    So they can be uplifted, whatever season their life Is in. WE ALL CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

  • http://twitter.com/theule Chris Theule-VanDam

    This is true, unless the leader is not trusted.  Then people will do the opposite.

  • Ananya Das

    Well said !

    Have a look at my similar post  :