Leading by example is one way to accomplish the goals in today’s scenario, and it means more than simply walking the talk. It also includes such ideas as integrity, taking action, and following through.
Of course, you don’t need to create a set of rigid rules to be an effective leader. In fact, the fewer you have, the more weight they will carry, and the more likely your employees will remember them. In other words, as a leader, you need to be the best you can be at all times. When you do make a mistake, admit it rather than make excuses, and you will gain the trust and respect of your team.
Let us think about the inspiring people who have changed the world with their examples. Consider what Mahatma Gandhi accomplished through his actions: He spent most of his adult life living what he preached to others. He was committed to nonviolent resistance to protest injustice, and people followed in his footsteps. He led them, and India, to independence – because his life proved, by example, that it could be done.
Although Gandhi’s situation is very different from ours, the principle is the same. When you lead by example, you create a picture of what’s possible. People can look at you and say, “Well, if he can do it, I can do it.” When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you.
Leadership involves much more than laying down the law and expecting people to follow. While this approach may have worked in the past, it is not the way of today’s workforce, and should you choose this route, you will likely lose good people. How then, do you lead effectively and by example?
Take the time to listen to your employees and get to know them. If you want your employees to trust and respect you, then extend these courtesies to your staff. This knowledge and talent combines to provide you with an effective business strategy if you let it. Listen to your employees, use their strengths, and observe the benefits.
The best way for a leader to lose credibility is to play the blame game. If you blow it, admit it. If you forgot, admit that, too. In other words, step up to the managerial plate every time. This encourages everyone to accept responsibility and accountability.
Don’t be afraid to praise. Being the boss doesn’t mean that you should withhold positive feedback. Everyone needs a pat on the back now and then, not just your star performers. The more you give out gold stars, the more you’ll notice motivated employees who continue to do good work and recognize each other’s value.
Moreover, do ensure that you walk your talk. It sounds obvious, but too often executives forget to follow-through on this. It’s easy to become caught up in deadlines and other urgent business, and it can be tempting to bend the rules for convenience; however, each time you do this, you give your staff another reason not to trust you as a leader.
The benefits you will reap by acting in a manner you expect of your employees are well worth it. If you lead from on high, shut away in an office, or cut-off through your actions and attitude, you risk being viewed as someone cold and distant.
However, if you lead with an attitude and actions that you expect of your team, you foster a company culture of working together and reaching a common goal.
Bear in mind that actions speak louder than words. You can develop a fabulous mission statement, but it means nothing if there are no actions to make it happen. Too often, executives or others in leadership fall into the trap of talking about great ideas, but without the follow-up, they are just not worth anything.
Effective leadership means learning how to prioritize and using people to set the right course of action. Moving beyond the talk and into the action in this manner speaks louder than words ever could–it shows, in clear terms, the trust you place in your team.
Finally, approach your leadership style with a bit of common sense. Be courteous to everyone you encounter and in all situations, including those where you find yourself having to reprimand or discipline employees. It’s only natural that your staff will want to work hard for you if they respect you, but you have to give them good reason. One way this can be accomplished is leading by example