Great managers are those who set the tone for the team and lead by example. But what does lead by example mean? It means the way a leader does their day-to-day work with integrity. When you lead by example, you become a picture of yourself and set the standard of work you want others to emulate, provide direction, make decisions with honesty others want to emulate. Leading by example is one way you can inspire your employees to work hard and do their best.
Leaders who lead by example are always at the forefront of their team and understand that they need to be role models for their people. They have an ingrained culture of accountability in everything they do and never ask someone else to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.
How do You Demonstrate Leading by Example?
It can be challenging to get it right if you are a new manager or just started leading people. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you do your work with excellence. The good thing is there are different ways you can set an excellent example for your team members.
Here are 10 ways you can start leading by example:
1. Be the First Person to Arrive at Work
If a leader always shows up last at work, it sets the wrong example. When your staff members see that their boss arrives late every day, they too may want to do the same.
The reason why you have to be at work first is not just being on time for your job, but it’s also about setting a positive example for others. If you want people to show up on time and be punctual, you need to lead by example.
2. Stay Late if Necessary
Do you want your employees to stay late? Do the same! Set a good example for them. If you ask people to stay and finish the work, do the same yourself even if you don’t have much to do with them at that time.
It will send a message that you are part of the team so, finish with them before you all go home. It also shows that you care and respect for those who may still be working.
Don’t expect your staff members to sacrifice their time away from home while they see you go home early. Set an example by doing what you ask others to do.
Read also: How to Manage Staff Effectively
3. Admit Your Mistakes
Leading by example is the best way to set standards for everyone under your leadership. It’s not always easy for a leader to admit when you’ve made a mistake.
The pressure that comes with being in a leadership position can make admitting mistakes seem like an admission of incompetence. But admitting mistakes is a trait of great leaders.
When a leader owns up to your staff, they are more likely to trust you. It also builds confidence within the team. Because they know that if something goes wrong, there will be someone to take responsibility for it.
4. Keep Your Word
Make sure your actions match the words you say. One of the aspects of being a leader is following through on commitments you make to others.
When you commit to something, whatever you say becomes your bond, and people will follow you without question because a commitment is like an agreement that you are willing to take on.
Your commitment can be something as simple as a promise or a legally binding statement. Regardless of what it is, following through is crucial to maintaining your good reputation.
People can only trust you when they know that no matter what happens, you’ll honor your promises. So, do what you say you will do when you say you will do.
If something changes or circumstances arise that require adjustments, let others know as soon as possible so they can adjust their plans accordingly.
Remember that they are still relying on your commitment or promise. It’s, therefore, better to go back and explain why you couldn’t fulfill your promise instead of doing anything at all and end up losing trust, respect, and credibility.
5. Share Your Knowledge with Others
As a leader, you are responsible for the success of your teams. You must share knowledge with team members. When you don’t share information about what you know, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, or your goals, then there’s no communication at all.
It can lead to accusations of you being secretive and cause frustration between team members. They may also feel you are not giving them all the necessary information about what’s going on at work.
So, if you have an idea that will help your team, don’t keep it to yourself. Share information and let them know whatever they need from you. Almost every employee in the workplace has something to offer.
Read more: 13 Best Personal Values of a Good Leader
6. Don’t Gossip
Gossiping is to talk about other people negatively or spread rumors that no one can prove if true. It can also be career-damaging if people find out you’re a gossiper.
It’s totally unacceptable for a leader to gossip about others at work. It’s one thing if you’re talking about someone to their face and quite another to talk about them behind their back.
Gossiping at work is a terrible habit. The worst part of gossiping is that it can lead to your downfall. You may not realize that people know you’re a gossiper until no one wants anything to do with you.
Gossiping is bad for morale because it destroys trust among workers and team spirit. As a leader or manager, you need to lead with integrity because it is the foundation of good leadership. But when you gossip about other people, it makes it hard for you to maintain your integrity.
You also set an example that encourages your team members to do the same thing. So, if you want to set a good example and garner respect from your employees you should not engage in any destructive behavior such as gossiping.
7. Treat Everyone with Respect
Another part of your job is to show respect and understanding for those who work under you. Lead by example by treating everyone with fairness regardless of position or status in the company.
It’s easy to take advantage of people in lower-level positions, but that doesn’t make it right. Keep in mind that employees often respond to kindnesses more generously than they would if you wanted them to do something against their will.
If someone is doing something wrong or not fulfilling their responsibilities, address it head-on but be fair and respectful. Treating people with respect is not something you delegate.
You have to demonstrate what a good leader can do. It’s not about being in charge or having the authority to decide, but about creating an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
If you want to be a successful leader, you need to create a culture that inspires all types of people you interact with every day.
8. Respect the Hierarchy Structure
Every person in the company has a different role, and every employee needs to understand their line manager. The hierarchy structure in an organization is a component of the success of that company.
It is a unifying structure where all employees see their respective roles and know who they report to.
Respect the hierarchy by not going around your direct reports or undermining people who are in lower positions than you. When you don’t do it, your staff will also do the same.
Respecting the organization’s hierarchy structure sets a tone of respect for the people who are below you. Understand that your staff members are doing their best to take care of you, so there is no reason why their positions deserve no respect.
Read also: 16 Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Manager
9. Be Present
Don’t be one of those leaders that don’t want to go into the trenches with their team. They spend all day in their office, never really coming out and leading by example.
If you’re not in the trenches with the team, you don’t know their challenges and what they are going through every day. Leaders help guide team members to find solutions for problems.
There is a big difference between being an absent leader and being available to support team members. The first leads to confusion, inefficiencies, and poor morale, but the second leads to clarity, progress, and team motivation.
Your absence as a leader can have many undesirable effects, including poor communication, unclear expectations, confusion, and staff become disengaged because they are not receiving guidance or feedback.
10. Listen to Your Employees
Lead by example by being a good listener. You have the responsibility to listen to your team members and show them an example. You should not be too busy with other tasks and forget about your employees.
You have to spend time with your team to get a better idea of what they are going through. They want feedback, ideas, and input. They are eager to tell you how they feel about their daily challenges at work.
Employees will feel appreciated if they know that you listen to them and value their opinion.
Leading by example is a difficult task, but it’s easier to understand its benefits. As a manager or leader, you need to demonstrate that you care about your team and organization for others to believe it.
It takes consistency, honesty, transparency, and accountability. You have to show your team what success looks like through your actions. For instance, if you want your team members to work harder, then work hard too.
If you want them more organized, then be organized yourself. If you want them to become better at services to customers, then provide excellent customer service yourself.
How does leading by example mean to you? Let us know in the comments below or contact us with any questions on this topic