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Leading by Example

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Management Leadership Manager Leadership

A manager should make every effort to set a positive example for their staff. If a leader is a role model too, it can inspire a team to pull together and deliver the level of service that customers expect.

Try to make a good first impression, as a manager who gets off to a bad start can find it difficult to change opinions later. Someone who has just been promoted into a management role must take care not to let the power go to their head. It is important that those in management do not get caught up in trying to look good and act big.

Rather than spend time wriggling into the good books of bosses, a manager should be working to gain the trust and admiration of their team members. Those in management roles need to practice what they preach. A manager cannot expect employees to work unpaid overtime if they leave early every day. If asking employees to work overtime, lead by example and be there too.

Muck In

The company may be happy for management to fly first class and book into top hotels when on business trips, but think about how this will look to associates if they are stuck in economy class and expected to stay at a motorway motel. Of course, it can be tempting to live the highlife, but it shows better leadership to muck in with the rest.

Some may consider it a sad commentary on a superficial society, but appearance does matter. Employees will notice and make judgements about a manager based on appearance. Use this as a chance to be a role model and be well-dressed and smart every day.

Management should not accept tardiness from employees, so to set a good example a manager has to be on time for all their appointments. When a manager schedules a meeting, sets a time to visit a client, or tells a colleague or contact they will meet them for a working lunch, they have to be there at the time set or risk losing their respect.

Set High Standards

To a large extent, a manager will get what they deserve in terms of the response and performance of their team members. Set high standards and lead by example, and employees will follow that example, but let standards slip and sloppy behaviour can spread and quickly become the norm.

As well as creating a happy working environment, a manager has to be willing to listen to employees. It is far easier for a manager get staff to listen to what they have to say if they reciprocate. Besides this, an employee may have something of value to say. A manager who drowns out employees by talking all the time cannot learn anything, as the only thing that can come out of their mouth is something they already know. By actively listening and honestly evaluating what an employee has to say, without letting their ego get in the way, a manager may learn something that benefits the business.

Leadership training can give a manager the leadership skills they need and the confidence to be a role model. The best managers do not rest on their laurels but strive continually to improve their skills through leadership training.

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