2 Samuel, Chapter 9, Verse 7
“Do not be afraid,” David said to him, “I will surely be kind to you for the sake of Jonathan your father. I will restore to you all the lands of Saul your grandfather, and you shall eat at my table always.”
David is showing compassion to Mephibosheth; Jonathan’s disabled son following the civil war between Israel and Judah. In the end David reigns over all of Israel. Israel with David’s leadership then quickly defeats the Jebusites taking Jerusalem; defeats the Philistines and brings the Ark to Jerusalem and God makes his Covenant with David. Thus David’s heart was full of gratitude.
David now can return the favor of his old friend Jonathan to his son and restores his lands and David orders his servants to cultivate Mephibosheth’s lands, providing him with food, income and a place in the court. Gratitude cultivates generosity. This is the law of the Picture.
The law of the picture summarizes what is often observed in human nature. People tend to mimic the behaviors of their leaders. When a leader demonstrates behaviors that lead to success, people that follow mimic those behaviors and succeed as well. The picture consists of vision, mission, and strategy. When the leader lives the vision, the leader models the vision making it real and alive.
Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them, day after day – Arthur Gordon
Good leaders recognize the importance of the example they set.
1. People watch what you do. As a leader, recognize that people tend to model behaviors that you display. People tend to believe what they see not necessarily what they hear. You convince people by what you do not by what you say.
2. Teaching what is right is easier than doing what is right. Leaders must be willing to make sacrifices that are painful and personal.
3. Change yourself before trying to improve others. As a leader, you need to lead yourself first. Set high standards of excellence for yourself. Work the hardest and longest on improving yourself. Failing to lead by example creates a fuzzy picture to those you intend to lead.
4. A leader’s example is the most value gift a leader can give. People desire leaders where espoused beliefs and actions align. People learn best from watching good leaders in action. Many leaders emerge by observing and replicating the behaviors of leaders that mentored them.