That old saying, “do as I say, not as I do” isn’t going to cut it in business.
As the CEO, boss, and/or manager, your employees, associates and clients learn how to act from the examples you set.
“Serious leaders understand that, both by design and default, they’re always leading by example.” (Michael Schrage, HBR)
While you have worked hard already to get yourself into a position of leadership, you cannot slack off while your teammates are watching.
Refusing to lead by example alienates your people from you, feels like a betrayal for them, and decreases morale.
Setting a double standard of asking for more from your team than you ask of yourself will quickly build a team who resents each other, refuses to go the extra mile, and lives for the weekends.
Accepting your position as a leader and leading by example sets the tone of your workplace, encourages passion, loyalty and trust among team members, and ultimately develops future leaders.
Leading by example builds trust and makes people want to follow you because people are more likely to follow those they trust.
If you are in a leadership position, you are responsible for the morale of your team. “The culture of an organization is set by its leaders, and if those leaders are not consistent with their positive messages, both explicit and through their actions, it impacts the culture.” (Kevin Dee, The Eagle)
You need to lead your team toward success by being the first one to go the extra mile. “It’s difficult to resent managers who roll up their sleeves and wade into the trenches when they need to, and who share the same sacrifices their teams do.” (Victor Lipman, Forbes)
Refusing to lead by example is a quick way to lose loyalty and reinforces higher turnover. Employee retention is one of the biggest issues in Human Resource management. Taking the time to build trust among your team will help you even more in the long run.
To understand how strong your current leadership is, ask yourself how you lead by example and write down a few concrete examples.
If you find it difficult to think of examples, don’t be discouraged. Start today and consider how you can build your team up through your actions.
Leading by example takes practice, but that extra effort will pay off by helping you build a stronger team and a better company.