Do you “Lead by Example” and put your words into actions, or do you ignore your commitments, presuming others will ignore them too?
Being a leader requires having people that choose to follow you. Trust must be established before anyone will make the decision to follow you. If you want to establish and maintain trust with your Team, you must “Walk the Talk”.
To lead by example means to guide and lead others through your behaviour instead of your words. The intention is to inspire others to copy your behaviour.
Your Team will want to see that your actions mirror what you say. This means aligning your behaviours with your core values.
You may not succeed in getting it right every time. Employees are quick to notice inconsistency and contradictions in their leaders.
Remember that the purpose of leadership is to be the change you want to see in your organisation.
Why is it so important to lead by example?
1. Boosts team morale
A great leader knows that their actions influence employee attitude, satisfaction, and performance. When leaders lead by example, morale goes up. This leads to greater company loyalty and higher productivity.
2. Builds trust and respect
Someone who leads by example can expect to receive trust and respect from their Team. Superiors see them as someone who is capable of running a team, and employees see them as trusted mentors.
A trusted leader can also inspire teammates to respect and trust each other.
3. Fosters a positive work culture
Workplace culture is the character of an organisation.
Businesses that have leaders who "walk the talk" embody these values daily. This commitment to workplace values inspires a positive work culture.
4. Increases productivity
It’s easier for teams to be productive when they see their leader keeping commitments, doing the hard work and focusing on shared outcomes. There tends to be a deeper desire to work hard and carry out work that makes the Team proud.
When a leader's actions and words align, the Team doesn't have to waste energy trying to decode their intent or agenda. Through their example, leaders also teach their teams to develop more effective and efficient processes.
What happens when Leaders don’t lead by example?
1. Low work ethic
When you don’t set a good example, one of the first things to disappear is work ethic. Your Team will struggle to perform well if they see you performing poorly.
2. Low morale
One of the fastest things to kill workplace motivation is poor leadership. It’s very challenging for your Team to feel satisfied and motivated if they don’t have a leader they trust.
3. High staff turnover rate
Hiring and training new employees is one of the most expensive parts of a business. Employees who report to poor leaders have a higher rate of churn.
4. Inefficient systems
Leaders who lead by example show their Teams how to do things faster and better. They demonstrate a continuous improvement and growth mindset. But poor leaders don’t take the time to teach their teams how to be efficient. They don't demonstrate how to take a critical view of systems and processes.
Without strong leadership, teams scramble to figure things out the hard way or become complacent. This can lead to ineffective and inefficient systems.
5. More workplace accidents
Employees look to their leaders for evidence about what is valued or important in the organisation. When leaders don't practice safe behaviour, teams learn that it is not a priority which can lead to costly mistakes and workplace accidents.
6. Lack of trust and respect
Employees question leaders that don’t lead by example. They struggle to trust their manager’s decisions and leadership style.
Use your behaviour to tap into your Teams full potential:
Leaders “Walk the Talk” when they set the standard of excellence, they want their Team to follow. With strong ethical values and practices, you can help your Team reach its potential. Leading by example proves to your Team that what you say and do really matters.