Leading By Example: 5 Ways To Practice What You Preach
The mark of a good leader is their ability to “walk the talk”
Leading by example is to guide others through your behavior instead of your words. Your intention is to inspire others to emulate your behavior. It is especially important for an effective leader as it leads to increased productivity, fosters trust and respect, and positively influences the team culture.
In this article we share 5 tips on how to lead by example in everyday life:
Take care of yourself: There’s been an increased drive to help teams find a balance between work and personal life. It can however be difficult for junior staff to prioritize this if their leaders are not intentional about encouraging this. One way you can support your team through this is by letting them know your preferred work style and encouraging them to share and follow theirs. Try as much as possible to accommodate different workstyles and prioritize your own self-care to make your team feel comfortable doing the same for themselves.
Keep your word: Great leaders are known to uphold integrity at all times. Leading by example involves keeping your word to both employees and clients alike. While it can be difficult to admit that you don't have the capacity or the ability to do something, it’s better to do so than to risk giving people false hope, or being untruthful. Communicate in advance if you find yourself in a position where you cannot honor a commitment. Keeping your word as a leader results in increased respect from your team and they strive to do the same.
Hone your leadership skills: Learning never stops and to build a learning culture within your team, leaders must continue to hone their skills and bounce back from failure. Being open about one's failures and shortcomings also encourages the team to share their failures and learnings with each other. Set an example by taking the positive aspect of that failure for your progress. This builds trust within the team.
Get your hands dirty: Much as your main responsibility is to give direction, get in the trenches with your team every once in a while. Get to know what their day-to-day looks like. Being involved in your team’s work gives you a snapshot of the challenges they encounter and enables you to help come up with better solutions. Working to solve your challenges alongside your team also boosts their morale and provides the sense of “If they can do this, I can do this, too”.
Learn from your peers: Peer-to-peer learning encourages leadership development. Through the use of targeted conversations, peer coaching produces action-oriented ways of addressing key challenges that they are facing in their personal or professional situations. Explore CoffeeChat’s Peer Coaching Network to regularly learn from peers at other companies.