Have you ever been told that effective leaders lead by example? This is certainly the case for most bosses across the country. Employees watch every move you make on the job - the good and the bad. As a leader, you want what you say to your employees to align with how you act in the workplace. After all, you can't expect your workers to do their jobs well if you are unwilling to do the same.
If you want to become a better leader and need help leading by example, here are a few ways you can start doing so today:
Be kind to your employees
Kindness goes a long way, especially at work. Instead of modeling your leadership approach after tyrannical bosses who scare their employees into submission, consider integrating a little kindness into your style. Don't just bark orders at your workers and then lock yourself in your office. You should let your employees know what is expected of them, but also inform them that your door is always open if they have any questions or concerns. With this open line of communication, your employees will feel free to work hard and push the boundaries of what is expected of them - in a good way.
Take your job seriously
No one respects the boss who arrives late, puts off her work, and leaves early. Employees also might not value bosses who don't dress or act the part of a leader. A large part of leading by example is making sure to take your job seriously. While you might not enjoy certain aspects of your company, job, or position, this doesn't mean you should spend your days complaining about it with people by the water cooler. You also shouldn't delegate work you need to accomplish to your employees who are likely already busy with their own assignments. Basically, if you want to be an effective leader, you need to get serious about your job.
Be a problem solver not a troublemaker
As the one in charge, you will have to put out numerous fires and resolve various interpersonal or client-related issues. If you don't like confrontation, it may be difficult for you to engage with employee conflicts or specifically address client concerns. Despite this, you need to be a problem solver and solution maker at your organization. You lead by example when you show your workers how situations like these should be handled. Therefore, instead of letting others determine the outcome of problems arising at your company, be the first one to step in and resolve these issues. This way, you can stop these problems from growing much larger than they should be.
Listen to everyone attentively
The last thing you want to happen is to hold an important conference room meeting only to look out and see that no one is listening. If you want to inspire your workers to listen to you, you must first be willing to listen to them. If you are known as the boss who constantly checks her phone or email whenever her employees are in her office, this doesn't send out a positive message to your staff, does it? Cut out any distractions or interruptions whenever you are meeting with an employee or co-worker. Make sure to ask probing questions and even follow up afterwards if the situation warrants it.
Consider enrolling in our "Leadership: Recognize the Leader in You" course to learn more about leading by example.