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Monday, July 20, 2020

The Importance of Leading by Example

Good leadership isn’t something that just happens. Leaders are those who make good things happen. One of the best ways they do it is by giving people a reason to believe and to follow. That’s simple and easy to say, but it takes a lifetime of trying to put into practice. There are no shortcuts, but there are signposts. The job of a manager is to get the system running; the job of a leader is to turn on the system, and, more especially, to get others to do the same.

Whether you realize it or not, if you're a leader, your employees are watching every move you make. Good leaders must lead by example. By walking your talk, you become a person others want to follow.

Our concept of a leader may be shaped in part by the nineteenth century model of a cavalry officer. This person earned his position because he could outride, outshoot, and outdrink every man in his regiment, not to mention outcharm all the ladies. There is a gem of truth in the cavalry officer’s approach to leadership, and that is the capability to do the job and do it well.

Leaders should do the work and know the trade. You don’t have to be the most advanced technician on the team, but you must have an in-depth understanding of your industry and your business. Employees have to know that their manager has what it takes to do the job. Today’s executive jobs are less physical , but they do demand critical thinking skills. Leaders need to communicate by example that they have the smarts to handle the job.

Leaders have many responsibilities, but it is important to work alongside your team. This is a great way to build trust and continue to develop your own knowledge and skills. Building trust can be accomplished by demonstrating credibility. Leaders must find ways to show that they not only possess valuable expertise, but also do not withhold or manipulate information to suit their own needs.

Honesty matters more than anything else. An effective leader will regard honesty and reliability as paramount and their behavior within the organization will reflect this: everyone, at all levels of the business, must act honestly.

Leadership is not a solo act; they point the way, but others carry the load. Therefore, the person in charge earns credibility by working collaboratively with the team as well as sharing credit for any success. Furthermore, managers who stand in the spotlight when things go poorly earn more than respect; they gain the hearts and minds of their followers. Such commitment, nurtured by respect for individual and collective abilities, will prepare the whole team to accomplish more in the future.

A good leader shows their employees how to work together to achieve solutions. By encouraging active listening among employees, a good leader ensures that people actually understand what others mean. A good leader will give constructive criticism and ensure that employees feel a true connection with the actions and processes required to achieve the company’s goals, making them willing to work – and put in extra effort – to achieve them.
Leaders who understand the power of their example treat coworkers at all levels with respect, mentor and coach people, seize and take advantage of teachable moments, show up on time and take responsibility for their actions. They show empathy, passion, integrity and compassion.

Command is granted; leadership is earned. That’s an adage that governs our military. People are put into positions of authority, but it is up to the individual to earn the respect and trust of his followers. The chief coin of such earning is example. When followers see the leader doing what is right for the team; that is, supporting, developing, nurturing, and defending in good times and bad, they grant their trust. The same trust-building revenue applies to individuals. Managers who put the interests of their people first by finding ways to help them grow, develop, and take on more responsibilities cease to be mere managers; they are leaders of men and women who have earned their rank by giving their people a reason to believe.

Setting an example isn’t just about finding ways to motivate employees in the short term; it can also inspire them in more lasting ways. Inspirational leadership generates enthusiasm and passion for the organization’s mission by helping employees to align their personal values with company initiatives. An inspired team is more likely to meet its goals, demonstrate higher levels of engagement, and produce higher quality work.

One of the responsibilities of a leader is to inspire other people to do the best that they can do for the benefit of the organization. To achieve this, the leader must show them the way by getting involved in the process – leading by example.

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