There is nothing worse than believing in a person only to have that belief shattered when they do something that is out of character. For leaders in any organization, failing to be authentic, ethical, and true to themselves is a recipe for disaster. When leaders say one thing and do something else, the team is weakened, trust is lost, and there is no longer a true and clear vision of what is expected.
Leading by example is something that every leader should incorporate into their daily life. Leading by example means understanding boundaries, being ethical in all interactions, and demonstrating a consistent example of what it means to be a leader. This creates a model for the team that encourages and supports personal and professional growth.
Leading in Difficult Times
It is easy to be a leader when everything is going well with the team and in the business. However, any team will have times when things fail, deadlines are missed, or sales quotes are not met. In these cases, leading by example shows the team how to handle these types of challenges.
Leaders that work with the team, explore how to fix the problem, and avoid blaming others become a model of how to handle mistakes and failures. They are able to talk about the problem and assume responsibility while also asking for input and feedback on how to correct or overcome the problem. These types of issues can be instrumental in creating change in the team that leads to amazing results in the future.
Being a Team Member
Leaders that see themselves as a working member of the team are also leading by example. A leader that is committed to the project or department and works the same hours, assumes the same responsibilities, and shares the victories with the team is truly leading by example.
This is very different from a leader that expects long hours from the team but leaves early every day or spends most of the day working away from the team.
Involving the Team
Communication is often a challenge for team members, particularly in today’s hybrid workplace. Leaders that focus on communication, which includes both clearly providing information and listening for feedback and information, are developing positive expectations around communication.
Asking for ideas and suggestions and listening carefully to the thoughts and options presented by the team provides a clear picture of how you expect your team to communicate with each other.
Setting an example of how to handle positive and negative things in the workplace is not always easy. However, effective leaders do this every day to support their teams and model how to manage these situations.