Many of us look to superstars as role models. Actors, musicians, artists, and other people who spend a lot of time in the limelight. Are these the people we should be looking up to?

As a business leader, it’s important to have high ethical standards to ensure top performance. Finding role models or mentors in your area of expertise may be difficult. What if YOU are the person that others look up to?

I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, also known as ‘Sir Charles’, is a former basketball player who rose to great fame during the 80s and 90s. His quote brings attention to the fact that, like it or not, famous athletes are looked up to. These are ordinary people with extraordinary talents, but they don’t necessarily live their lives as positive role models.

Research Has Shown That Role Models Are Beneficial

Positive role models have been shown to have a positive effect, but what about role models for leaders? Can a mentor model ethical behaviour that leads an individual to increase performance?

Entrepreneurs, for example, must be smart, resourceful, and they need good leadership skills to realise their vision and make it a reality. A recent study looked at the effects that role models have on entrepreneurs. Scientists found that there was a significant positive impact for entrepreneurs and that observing role models increased entrepreneurial attitudes. This is a promising sign that role models can have a positive effect on anyone trying to start their own business (Fellnhofer, 2017).

Finding An Ethical Mentor Will Increase Your Performance

Performance is what fuels self-development, allowing you to expand your brain’s ability to find purpose and live according to the principles that you believe in. As a leader, you should be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to perform at your best, just like a top athlete or an award-winning actor.

Are you really conscious of who you are, who you are becoming, and what you could be? Or are you trying to survive the daily grind? You can break out of the cycle and develop a high-performance mind. Choose a role model wisely. Don’t pick someone who works eighteen hours a day seven days a week. Choose someone who understands how performance can be maximised while still maintaining a healthy life.

Use The Full Potential Of Your Brain To Make Good Decisions

Science is unraveling the mysteries of how memory works and how the brain is engaged in making decisions. The i4 Neuroleader Model will help you develop your mental fitness to increase your performance while still maintaining your ethical ideals.

Role models and mentors are examples of the attitudes and behaviours that you value. While famous people like Charles Barkley don’t necessarily want to be role models, sometimes people in certain positions are looked up to, whether they like it or not. Someday, you may find yourself in a similar situation and find that you are the role model. Make sure that your mind and body are prepared.

Fellnhofer, K., & Puumalainen, K. (2017). Can role models boost entrepreneurial attitudes? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 21(3), 274–290.

Originally posted on: 5 December 2017
Last updated on: 18 February 2024
Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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