One of Newton’s laws of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Granted, that’s a great oversimplification but what do you expect from a guy from Peoria?
Leaders would do well to pay attention to this law. Parents, too. And teachers and managers and coaches. Anyone in a position of influence should understand the law of action and reaction.
If it’s true that we lead by example, that raises an obvious question: What kind of example are we setting? Your example — like it or not — is setting off a reaction inside those who follow you.
Where Newton’s law breaks down when it comes to leadership influence is here: Not all reactions must be opposite in nature. In fact, good coaches bring out the best actions in their players. Positive parents inspire positive actions in their children.
But don’t dismiss the main point: your actions are creating a reaction — either positive or negative. While you can’t control how someone responds to your words or deeds, you can control your words and deeds. In that sense, you can influence the reaction to a certain degree.
What reactions are your actions setting in motion?