Who Is Your Role Model?

When you try to give good advice, what type of example do you give? A good example will give congruity, a bad example will give confusion

When people talk of role models, they are more than likely talking about someone famous (E.g. a sports star, actor or musician). My role model as I was growing up was a guitarist called Eddie Van Halen from the band Van Halen. I play the guitar and have played in bands when I was younger and he was the one I looked up to.

Other times people are often talking about family members when it comes to role models (E.g. Mother/ Father, Grandmother/Grandfather or Brother/Sister).

However, what we all need to understand is that when we are at work carrying out our tasks, we are ALL role models. No matter where you are in your career, we are constantly being observed by our peers every hour of every day.

When you are at work, do you have a role model? Who do you look up to and want to emulate as you go through your career? Does your role model have a positive influence or a negative influence? Are they at work to make a difference or are they there to do as little as possible and just get paid?


Do they share ideas to improve the team or the organisation? Do they help others in the team and encourage them to do the same? Do they help you? As you are also a role model, what type of role model are you?

1. We Are All Role Models

It’s very important that you understand what people are seeing as they observe you as a role model? Do you have a positive or a negative influence?

It’s inevitable that the organisation you are working in (not working for, as you work for yourself) will change constantly, that is how the world of industry and business works. The corporate term for this is “continuous improvement”.

However, for a lot of people throughout the world of business, change is difficult to handle, so they resist it. The people who resist change within your organisation will not have a good reputation and will have a negative influence with the leadership team.

They only really have influence, positive or negative, with their peers who may also resist change and make things difficult.

Within your organisation there are also people (usually the minority) who love change and grab it with both hands. They have a very good reputation and have a lot of influence with the leadership team.

2. Embracing Change

These people are often given a lot more responsibility as the leaders see them as the people to “continually improve” the organisation. Who would you rather role model, the people with a poor reputation and very little influence, or, the people with a good reputation, a lot of influence and a lot more responsibility?

I have always emulated the people who have the good reputation and high influence. In my experience, by doing this it was pointed out to me that I was making the rest of the team look bad. So, I was often dismissed by some of my peers and accused of “ass kissing” or “bootlicking”.

If you have had a similar experience to me then you cannot let them get to you or hold you back. You have the potential to become the best person you can be, and make a huge difference in your team, your organisation, your industry and in your life.

You will come across people who will go out of their way to put obstacles in front of you. So, remove those obstacles and keep moving forward on your journey, not backward.

Keep in mind that the people, who are giving you a hard time and are accusing you of making them look bad, are actually making you look good. They are in the position they are in through their own fault, it has nothing to do with you.

When you are helping the team and the organisation improve, accepting more responsibility and increasing your influence, you are setting yourself up for great things in the future.

You are also becoming a great role model for others in your team, especially the new and younger team members. They will want to emulate you and follow you, which is exactly what a great leader has….followers.

I am proud to say that I stood for what I believed was right throughout my career and followed the right people, and because of that I am building a great life.

So far I have worked and lived in four different cities and become an engineering leader within the UK rail industry by the age of 36. I want you to do something very similar, or even better, because you have that potential.

3. Embracing Your Own Potential

As we have discussed earlier, who do you work for? YOU! Who is your number one customer? THE BOSS! Who do you need to impress the most? THE BOSS!

If you implement what you are learning from this website, then you will surprise yourself at what you are able to build as a life and career. The future you can create in your current position and a leader will be unimaginable to you right now, but trust me you can do it.

The organisation you are working with right now has opportunities that you don’t yet know about, but you will come to realise. Ensure you are fully prepared for those opportunities, so you can take them when they arrive.

A leader sees more and sees farther. As you move forward on your journey, you must keep your eyes wide open and be prepared to see more than others.

Do the things that keep you on the right direction as we discussed in the previous chapter, don’t do the things that take you off that direction. The further you go on your journey and the more action you take; you will start to see things that you did not see before.

This is all part of your personal growth. If you are travelling down the right direction, the more you will grow. If you move onto the wrong direction then you will stop growing. So, at all costs, keep heading in the right direction.

When I was 16 years old and I started my engineering career as an apprentice mechanical engineer in Liverpool, I was excited by the prospect of having a job for life. That was how we were encouraged as apprentices.

So back then, I could never have imagined building a career, being on the journey that I am currently on, or doing what I am about to describe to you.

In 2010, I was working with the train operating company in Liverpool as a graduate/project engineer. I had just recently completed my degree and was also a member of the institution of mechanical engineers (IMECHE).

I was increasing my influence by volunteering to help the institution with their events and young members, and by doing this my name got about the industry.

So, I was approached by a worldwide company called Serco to help them on one of their projects for two weeks. My company very nicely allowed me to be part of the project, which was to develop the asset management strategy and engineering depot operations plan for a new train operating company in Delhi, India.

So, I would be working in India for two weeks, leading a major project. I couldn’t believe it.

I flew from Heathrow Airport in London, business class. I had never been business class before, it was quite an experience.

When I arrived in India and began work, I saw this as an opportunity to learn and increase my influence within the industry. Basically help my business (ME) grow. I was there to do a job, but I was also there to travel further on my journey and in the right direction.

The engineers I worked with in India were not as experienced as the engineers I worked with in the UK. However, it was my responsibility to help and serve them as the project leader. I taught them a few things about leadership and how they can help themselves improve. The same way I was taught by my role models earlier in my career.

4. Opportunities To Increase Your Influence

The opportunity to help the engineers increase their influence and set them on the right direction was more than the opportunity of just doing a good job. If I took care of the people, then the job would take care of itself. I wanted them to see me as a role model.


I also wanted them to see themselves as a role model to their peers. I told them that they are also constantly being observed and that they should do their best to have a positive influence on their team and their organisation. I think it worked because the company in Delhi are thriving and their engineering team are one of the best in Delhi.

I kept in touch with a few of the engineers, who have now gone onto bigger and better things. This obviously wasn’t all my influence, but I take pride in knowing I helped them and influenced them a little bit.

Always remember that your actions can influence a person in either a positive way or a negative way. How would you like to influence your people? What type of role model would you like to be? Choose wisely, because your decision will either keep you on that right direction or move you onto the wrong direction.

Leading by example is the sign of a great leader

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

34 thoughts on “Who Is Your Role Model?

  1. Hi Tom,
    This is a great article on leadership. being a role model is not as easy as it sounds. A leader must rise above petty things and provide a true environment of growth. It is true that as a leader, you should let others take credit for successes, and be ready to take the blame when things go wrong.

    1. Hi Aparna,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you thought this was a great article.

      I completely agree that being a role model is not easy, and we must definitely create the environment for our people to grow.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  2. Ohh, aren’t you the lucky one, being able to work in India for a couple of weeks. That is soo cool. Are you still in contact with the people you escorted on their path back then? It must have been marvelous to have an inside peek in the way similar companies like yours were working in another country.
    As to role models on my part:
    When I was just starting out as a solo entrepreneur I coincidentally ran into a man who took me under his wings. I worked for him and his clients. Then we jointly worked for customers for some time. And eventually I bought his company when he planned to retire. It was great that he saw my potential (where I didn’t always see it myself) and until now he still is a dear friend.
    I worked a lot with freelancers. The advantages being that I didn’t have to go through the hassle of employment right away, and could see what their potential was.
    Years after I had hired a young woman she told me I had been a role model for her back then. That was so touching! It made me realize that 1) It was amazing she told me, because not everyone does that and 2) you can have an impact even without knowing. 🙂

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      No, I haven’t been in contact with the people in India as I changed companies not long after I came back from there.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences as a solo entrepreneur because I can definitely relate to them. I have had a coach who took me under her wing and helped me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  3. Hi I enjoyed reading you post on Who is Your Role Model? I’m not sure who my role model was, I think they were my employers in my teenage years. Otherwise for family it was my father.

    My role model I found this really a great read, so much so that I have applied for the free ebook. Thank you for writing an interesting post.

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you for your comment. So pleased that you enjoyed reading the article.

      Always remember that you are a role model too, and that we are always being observed by our people. Sub-consciously or consciously we are being watched.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  4. Hi it’s very important to know how we affect other people and also how to be ourselves and finsing a balance between them two takes a lot of practice and not everyone is born to be a leader. But that’s ok, I guess we all have to find something we are good at 🙂

    1. Hi Silviemfit,

      Thank you for your comment.

      All leaders are born, but there is no such thing as a born leader. Leaders are made.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  5. Hi Tom,
    Interesting article. Leadership can be challenging. My role model was a kind Welsh Project Manager Director I worked with who exhibited the traits I describe below.

    This sentence stood out for me -“You will come across people who will go out of their way to put obstacles in front of you…remove the obstacles..”

    This can be tough to get around. I have learned that if you don’t deal with them (the individuals) and eliminate the obstacle, then they’ll simply go ahead and create another one for you and you will have a hard time reaching your goal.

    My experience has been to “genuinely seek to understand” the “why” of this aberrant behavior with them. Of course, they are not expecting you to do this! This establishes you as a leader, but ultimately sets you up for success.

    1. Hi Ceci,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article interesting.

      I really appreciate you sharing who your role model is, and you are absolutely right about removing obstacles. It can be very tough indeed to remove obstacles, but as you say it is something we must deal with if we want to keep progressing towards our goals.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  6. This is a great post, I enjoyed reading it very much, as you said we are all role models, and I think the greatest satisfaction in life is to know you have helped someone to better themself, and they, in turn, will be an influence to their peers, there is always someone watching you, and being influence by you.

    1. Hi Ruthlyn,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed reading this article.

      I couldn’t agree with you more, to help somebody become better is what brings joy to my life. When I help another person succeed, that helps me to succeed too. We must give to receive in this life.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. The U.S. Army describes Leadership as the ability to influence others to do what you know must be done by providing purpose, direction, and motivation. I could not agree with you more when you say we are all role models. Whether we are good or bad role models is up to us! No matter what we do (or do not do) in life, somebody is watching and will be influenced one way or the other. I have had many role models in my life and I strive to be a good role model for those around me. Change is inevitable and we must embrace it and help those who struggle to do so! Thanks again for the great read!

    1. Hi Tom,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article a great read, means so much to me.

      I am so grateful for you sharing how the U.S. Army describes their leadership principles. It is so inspiring to learn that from you and I love how they influence their people. I must learn more about how our British Army describes their leadership too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  8. Hi Tom,

    Thank you for raising a really important question about who your role model is. I think, personally for me, there have been many role models for me over the years including my parents, uncle, teachers and so on. But perception changes as you grow older. So the role models have changed too.

    One thing that struck me is that I’ve always had the role models who were very alike me and therefore I majority of the time did not achieve anything new. So, recently I started paying attention to that, that I need to do something different to get something different. Hence started taking one of my colleague as a role model as I really like her calm approach to life.

    I think I have been the role model to my nieces as they admire me a lot. So it must be something I’m doing right! 🙂

    1. Hi Habib,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this an important article and question.

      We are all role models, whether we like it or not. I really appreciate you sharing who your role models are and that you are a great role model to your nieces. I feel I am a role model to my niece and nephew, and I always think of them when I am working towards my purpose.

      Thank you again for sharing your experiences with role models and keep being that amazing role model for your nieces.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  9. I really enjoyed this article. My favorite part was how we are all role models! I am very encouraged and will start to be the role model I want to see in MY business! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Randi,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you enjoyed reading this article.

      It’s great that you are inspired to become the role model that you want to see. Do your best to become the highly effective leader you want to see too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  10. I like what you said, everyone is a role model. To me, anyone who can help me to learn and grow to be a better person, regardless what position he or she is in, whether is a boss or cleaner, they are role model to me. Of course, there are some people who has more influence to me than others, especially for those who I have learn alot.

    However, not every human beings are perfect. Although a person can have a great positive influence on me and I take him as my role model, there is also certain part of him that I don’t agree. Therefore, there is no so called the 100% perfect role model to me. And I have also to accept that I myself is not a perfect role model to others too. Everyone of us are basically learning from one and another. We should be inspiring one and another!

    Your article help to bring inspiration to everyone of us. Thank you!

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so inspired that you are inspired by this article, really means a lot to me.

      I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on role models and it’s great that you see the importance in having a role model, and also being a role model.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  11. Hi Tom,

    Yet another article of yours that clearly resonates with me.

    In fact, your story of visiting India is quite similar to an experience of mine.

    I was actually freelancing for an insurance company a few years ago, mainly as a Training Manager.

    I had the opportunity to visit their call centres in Trivandrum, Kerala, in the south of India.

    I spent two weeks there, visiting the call centres, chatting with the staff, and understanding what issues they were facing.

    I also devised a 3-day training workshop for the call centre managers and supervisors.

    Everything went really well, and the whole two-week trip was a complete success.

    What I wasn’t prepared for was the influence that I appeared to have on many of the employees in India, and I was even told that a few of them saw me as a role model, and aspired to do the job that I was doing, and in the same manner that I undertook my work.

    This of course was extremely flattering, but it also opened my eyes to the fact that I could indeed be a role model to other people.

    Irrespective of the work I did and the manner in which I conducted myself, I never saw myself as a role model for others.

    I, of course, have had many role models in my time, sporting greats, bosses at work, etc.

    But I discovered it’s also important to realise the influence that you have on others as well.

    A great read as always Tom.


    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment. It’s great that this article has resonated with you.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences in the south of India. It sounds like you had a really successful time there in pitting together your 3 day training package. You really were a role model to your people over there and you have taken that experience to keep being a role model in your current roles both personally and professionally.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  12. This is one of my favourite topics. The one thing I learned is that we can do everything if we look up to someone who has already done the thing we want to do.

    I managed to do so quite a few times so far. In fact, we are role modelling and are role models all our lives, whether we are conscious of the fact or not.

    I like how you have connected this role to leadership. Every leader is in the same moment a role model as well. As always, I learned a lot from your post. Thanks a lot, Tom!

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article valuable.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences of being a role model because there will be lots of people who will resonate with you. You ar right, every leader is a role model and they must portray role model traits every single day.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  13. We are all Role models in some form or another, through time the ones we look to change and others whose opinion we value and aspire to be now.

    Through time it’s also important to change with the times, not just yourself but how others work too. You must always evolve and stay relevant.

    How we conduct ourselves is also very important, as this will impact your path moving forward.

    This is a great post that I could talk about lots more, so many good talking points and important information here. Very useful information for anyone looking to climb that career ladder and also to do better themselves also.

    A great read.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi LJ,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you found this article a great read.

      I couldn’t agree with you more that through time, we must change with the times. If we don’t change then we will just stay where we are and that is not how to be a good role model, especially to younger people.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  14. Hi Tom.
    I agree that we are all teachers and all students. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, there is always someone who can learn something from us, and others that can teach us more. I believe this is important and should inspire us to always try and do our best in all situations, even the tasks that we really don’t want to be doing.

    It’s disappointing to be working in a team when some of the members are not putting their ‘heart’ into doing a good job, and even worse when they talk us down for going out of our way to make things better for our company or for the workers that work there.
    As you say, the best course of action is just to get on with doing the best possible job, and they will surely fall away to the side as they become recognized for what they are… Lazy!

    Thanks for sharing your story about going to India. It’s great to hear about success and the many forms it takes.


    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I’m really pleased that you agree with the article and that you found it valuable.

      I couldn’t agree with you more, we are all teachers and all students. Leaders are learners and leaders are readers. Leaders are learning every single day of their lives.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  15. What an amazing article on leadership. I believe a good leader should think first about his employees and then about himself. If the people who work for you aren’t satisfied and happy, they are most likely to do a low quality job. It is also important to help them grow and improve their skill sets.

    1. Hi Delyana,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you found this article amazing, it means so much to me.

      You are absolutely right, leaders should be thinking of their people first before themselves. They must be thinking of their personal growth aswell as their performance on the job.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  16. It may sound funny to some, but I’m my own role model. I look up to the person that I want to become one day, and strive to get there by putting in a lot of effort.

    I’ve changed quite a lot over the recent years, and your blog has undoubtedly played a huge role in my transformation.

    Some of the things that I’ve come across on your blog are pure gold, and I just want to share that with the newcomers. Thank you so much for unselfishly sharing all your valuable thought with us. I highly appreciate it and urge you to keep on going!

    As always, lots of love and respect!


    1. Hi Gorjan,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article and my other articles valuable.

      I really appreciate you saying that my blog has helped you with your transformation, but always remember that your transformation is all down to YOU. I am so happy for you that you are changing for the better of yourself and I hope for the better of others too. Keep transforming for the better.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  17. Hi Tom,
    My apologies that it has taken me a while to get around to reciprocate, I have been so busy writing articles and idea for my own ebook, it’s taken my attention away from other essentials of the platform and community. Choosing role models is key in our personal and professional life and sometimes that may turn out to be the same person. It all depends.
    Having someone to look up to and want to emulate is important. It helps us strive to be the best-version-of-ourselves.
    You have shared a great deal of highly effective elements of finding the potential within yourself.

    All the best to you,

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I completely agree that it is so important to have someone to follow and look up to as a role model. It is even more imortant that as leaders, we must be the person to follow and role model.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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