John Quincy Adams said, “A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” Today’s leadership has changed, and it is far too often that the word leadership gets stuck in the crossfire between painted smiles and the disappointing scandals we hear about. It is no longer shocking when public figures from any demographic are caught in some form of distasteful act. Sadly, these representatives are to be our examples and our leaders.

Truth be said, what we do not need is leaders with double lives, but rather, we need consistency. We do not need self-promotion; we need humility, and we certainly do not need flatterers but genuine courageous leaders that practice discretion. If one wants to lead by example, then one must be indebted to the greater good of humanity. It is a tall order – a different kind of standard. Though anyone is capable of possessing leadership qualities, we are not all suitable for specific leadership roles. It is unfortunate that when we even think of the word leader, we can only envision one or two people in a high position. Where have all the leaders by example gone? We should all be striving to become pioneers of this type of leadership.

So, how does one lead by example? Well, I believe it is first a score to be settled from inside out. One does not wake up one day and declare himself a leader. It is character development constructed from the finer things in life over time, as well as practicing and disciplining oneself to be mindful of others. Appreciation for family, life, the talents of others, diligence, focus, honesty, and love is a good start. Leading by example begins at home, and then, it translates into the rest of a life.

I believe that these types of leaders may still be hidden all around us. They may be the pleasant barista girl who greets you with a smile every morning, your child’s first grade teacher, or the random stranger that keeps the door held open until you are able to walk through it. These are not just leaders – they are superheroes in disguise. If we all practice these small things in putting others before ourselves, then assuredly, real leaders will once again emerge in our society.