Leaders always set the tone

In the context of churches/church planting, people always talk about how the church will mirror the pastor. The interests of the pastor become the interests of the church. The weaknesses of the pastor often become the weaknesses of the church. A pastor who cares deeply about missions? The church will be extremely missional. Deep teaching? You’ll be known for it. You get the idea.

It’s really the same, though, for any field. I can’t help but wonder what ways I am consciously and unconsciously setting the tone and building the culture for the folks I lead. One of my goals is to be aware of what culture and expectations I’m modeling and creating.

Michael Hyatt had a great post recently where he talked about this as the law of replication. In it he said:

“Unconsciously, your people will mimic you. This means:

  • If you are late to meetings, your people will be late to meetings.
  • If you don’t take notes in meetings, your people won’t take notes in meetings.
  • If you are angry and defensive when you get negative feedback, your people will be angry and defensive when they get negative feedback.


  • If you are humble and grateful, your people will be humble and grateful.
  • If you are warm and engaging, your people will be warm and engaging.
  • If you are even-tempered and unflinching under fire, your people will be even-tempered and unflinching under fire.

Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I would add, “Be the change you want to see in your organization.” If you don’t like the culture of your department, division, or company, start by changing yourself. Set a new standard. Let your word become flesh. This is the most powerful thing you can do to change your world. … You will replicate yourself.”

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