Leaders Act the Part

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

My favorite actor is Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. He’s performed marvelously in a variety of roles in memorable movies such as Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, and L.A. Confidential. Like many of the greats of the profession, Crowe brings a plausibility to his craft that makes you forget—for a few hours, anyway—he’s acting the part of his character. But “acting the part” isn’t only for those who tread the boards. Behaving in a way proper to a particular role or given situation is appropriate for anyone in a position of responsibility.

Leaders must act the part in a visible manner to their teams. I’ve written before about the importance of leading with the traits of character, competence, and courage. And with the unique challenges presented to us in 2020, your team needs a model of reliable leadership more than ever. Whether you and your co-workers have returned to the office or remain working from home, it’s important to be the steady, reassuring presence that’s required to navigate these unusual and demanding days.


It’s easy to lead when things are going well. I believe authentic leadership comes when times are tough. Even on days when you aren’t at your best—physically, mentally, or emotionally—be conscientious. As best as possible, honor your commitments. Find the extra gear to see your tasks through. You’re responsible for the function and well-being of the team you’ve been entrusted with. Leaders hold themselves to a high standard knowing their measure of accountability is openly reflected.


business leader sits with team around coffee table

This isn’t to say leaders are immune to trials and tribulations. We’re all vulnerable in this sense. In private moments, a leader will encounter occasional feelings of doubt and fear. In fact, I’d suggest finding a trusted peer to be a sounding board to maintain a healthy perspective. It’s important that when you’re stressed, anger or despair don’t become default reactions—especially, in a conspicuous manner. Stay the course! Exude optimism to your team, and remain confident in the qualities you possess to lead.


Like an actor gets into character when the camera rolls, likewise, leaders act the part during business hours. It’s about sticking to foundational principles and exuding confidence in the midst of crisis or change. Persevere when it’s tempting to compromise your professionalism. Don’t relax your ethics. As a leader, there is the tacit expectation that you set the right tone. You give the right example. It mutually benefits you and your team. Having a position of leadership is a privilege. Remember to act the part!