We all have heard about the impact of a leader’s modeling on those around her, and Learner Lab’s Trevor Ragan shared a concrete way to illustrate this impact.

Students and the teachers at a school agreed to begin learning something new over a two week period. Participants then showed off their newly acquired skills in an Anti-Talent Show at the end of the time period. What they found was that the core benefit to this wasn’t the gains in harmonica-playing, knitting or juggling. Rather, the key lessons were that the students learned that the teachers also struggled and the teachers were reminded that learning is sometimes hard work and scary. By having the teachers model their wobbly skills, it became a powerful experience for all.

People are always watching the leader and taking cues as to what is valued and what is not. If you work yourself to the bone, wellness decreases in importance, no matter what you say. If you admit your failures, having a growth mindset becomes the standard. If you share information with others, transparency is practiced more frequently.

Ragan encourages leaders to identify what actions they want to see from people and model those actions repeatedly. The teachers in the Anti-Talent show wanted students to know that struggles are part of learning something new and consequently, put their own fallibility on public display. What behaviors do you want to see from those around you? Be intentional about naming them, and more importantly, modeling them, for your family, colleagues, and partners.

Source: The Learner Lab Podcast: How to Improve the Learning Environment with Modeling

Man in a cap, juggling with several balls at once. Dynamics and motor coordination. Balancing. Aquamarine T-shirt. Yellow-red balls. Dark background.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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