I wanted to take a little break from the expertise development posts and write briefly about behavior modeling.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed that my six month old spends a great deal of time staring at her four year old brother and trying to mimic everything he does. She wants to play with his toys, eat his fruit, and drink from his cup.

In a brief moment of quiet on a recent drive home from our parent’s house, my wife and I had a rare chance to talk. We were both intrigued with our daughter’s mimicking of her brother, and like true nerds, we quickly digressed into thinking about how that applies at work. We both agreed that a great deal of learning happens by watching others. It is more pronounced when you are new to an organization and have to learn about a new culture, position, formal and informal networks, and just about everything else.

I have been lucky in my career to have had great role models and mentors. They have taught me about work ethic, personal development, systems thinking, and humility. They didn’t tell me about those things, they showed me every day by their actions.

What I try and remember is- my son is modeling after me and his sister after him. I create a chain of actions by every decision I make, every reaction I have, and pretty much every word I choose. I have to assume the same holds at work.

What do you think? Have you been modeling the behaviors at home and at work that you want your kids or co-workers/employees to mimic?