During a televised game of Rugby League, Nathan Massey badly dislocated his knee and managed to almost put it on the other side of his leg. Ten minutes later, he was walking off the pitch, and the following week he was playing for Castleford again. This got Lance thinking about role models.
I’ve always been proud to be a rugby league supporter. It’s a truly family sport and the players are great role models. They never swear at the referee, they get on with the game even after they’ve received a hard tackle, and you never see the bad tempered histrionics often witnessed in other popular sports.
Nathan’s actions were especially outstanding though. Straight after the accident, TV pictures showed him wincing in pain as his knee had moved half way around the other side of his leg. A few minutes later he hobbled off the pitch after having it pushed back into place.
According to Cranfield School of Management, a role model is someone who serves as an example and whose behaviour is emulated by others. This is certainly the case in rugby league. The crowd emulates the behaviour of the great role models on the pitch. This is what makes it such a great family sport.
Role modelling is important in business too. Great organisations have leaders who are great role models. These leaders focus on things such as: paying attention to their individual behaviours, encouraging teamwork, and promoting the development of others. Great role models realise the aim is to help others emulate great behaviour, yet recognise the need for individuality. It’s not about creating a team of mini-me’s.
It’s easy to forget that leaders are constantly ‘on show’ within an organisation. Employees often observe leaders and replicate their behaviour. That’s why being a great role model has a massive impact. Let’s now consider some of the desired behaviours of role models within business.
According to the CiPD, great role models act with integrity, impartiality and independence. They’re great at balancing personal and organisational values, and operate legally. The CiPD indicate that some of the skills and behaviours are:
- being skilled at managing any conflict between personal values and those of the organisation
- challenging leader and organisation actions when inconsistent with the values, beliefs and promises
- representing and promoting the reputation of their department/function to operate professionally within the organisation
- taking ultimate accountability for decisions and actions of their department/function, addressing any concerns raised by managers promptly and robustly and promoting the lessons to be learned
There are other descriptions for role modelling other than those of the CiPD and Cranfield School of Management used in this blog. There is one phrase that sticks in my mind though, and that is:
‘behaviour breeds behaviour’.
As a leader, a manager and a person, your behaviour will influence the way others around you behave. This is the same for sport too. During the same week that Nathan Massey dislocated his knee and then walked off the pitch, two premiership footballers started three-match bans for an incident caused by hair pulling. Different role models influencing different behaviours from supporters? What do you think?
What about your organisation though? Take a few minutes to reflect on your business and your team to consider what behaviours serve them well, and not so well. Then if you want to be really daring, think about how your role modelling influences or reflects these behaviours.