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Authentic CEOs serve as role models for employees who emulate their behaviors and attitudes. Employees and other leaders are inspired to mimic their behaviors.

I was impressed with the widespread international criticism after Donald Trump ban on refugees this week. More importantly, I was happily surprised by the supportive response of some business leaders. For example, Starbuck CEO Schultz plans to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump ban. My coffee is sweeter these days. He serves as role model for other leaders to follow.

And it happened. Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb –the popular home-sharing site, has said it will give free housing to refugees and others in limbo. I am proud to be part of the Airbnb community in Spain.

Other tech leaders have followed like Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.

But, leaders do not only influence our behavior but also our emotions.

We have known for years about the social contagion of emotions, like happiness.

Now, new research shows that the leader´s mood drive the moods of everyone else around them.

How to become a positive role model:

  • Offer inspiration to others: Present your goals as uplifting targets that emphasize ideas and vision. Be outspoken on important issues and do not be afraid of the spotlight.
  • Engage in change-oriented behaviors: Get yourself out of the comfort zone. Eccentric behaviors make you visionary in the eyes of followers.
  • Avoid “if it isn’t broken don´t fix it” motivational style: A prevention focus to avoid disappointments makes you vigilant to minimize failure at the expense of growth and innovation.
  • Increase your return on failure (as Julian Birkinshaw suggests): Failure has been part of today´s successful CEOs and leaders. Look at Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Chad Hurely and Elon Musk.
  • Craft your goals via aspirations: A promotion focus emphasizes ideals, vision and engagement with the future that furthers your own boundaries. Affirm the company´s commitment to its core values.

Question: Who are your role models in business and life?

Margarita Mayo

I´m Margarita Mayo. I´ve been a Professor of Leadership and Psychology at IE Business School since 2000. Prior to that I was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University and professor at Ivey Business School. I feel passionate about scientific dissemination, and I have more than 20 years of international experience teaching courses on soft skills, giving keynote conferences and coaching executives on leadership development and change management. Always eager to help develop the next generation of leaders.

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