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Set the Example

I ran across this poem recently for the first time in many years. I first read it in Scott Geller’s book The Psychology of Safety published in 1996. It’s bulletin board worthy for anyone who supervises, leads or coaches people.

The eye’s a better teacher and more willing than the ear;

Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;

And the best of all the preachers are the ones who live their creeds.

For to see the good in action is what everyone needs.

I can soon learn how to do it if you let me see it done;

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run;

And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true.

But I’d rather get my lesson by watching what you do.

For I may not understand you and the high advice you give.

There’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Forrest H. Kirkpatrick

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