The Lead by Example: A Guide to Servant Leadership in the Workplace
The Lead by Example: What It Means and Why It Matters
Have you ever heard the phrase "do as I say, not as I do"? If you have, you probably know how frustrating and ineffective it can be. As a leader, you can't expect your team to follow your instructions if you don't follow them yourself. You need to show them how to do things, not just tell them.
The Lead by Example
That's where leading by example comes in. Leading by example is a leadership style where you model the behavior you want to see in your team members. When you lead by example, you don't just push team members towards excellencerather, you actively demonstrate that excellence. You show them what it means to be a good leader and a good team player.
Leading by example has many benefits for both you and your team. It can help you:
Inspire the people around you
Build trust between you and your team
Create an inclusive, collaborative work environment
Build a culture of accountability
Increase productivity through teamwork
Set the standards of success on your team
Increase team loyalty, engagement, and retention
Contribute to great team building
In this article, we'll share some tips on how to lead by example in the workplace, provide some examples of leading by example in different situations, and show you how to measure the impact of leading by example on your team's performance.
How to Lead by Example in the Workplace
Leading by example is not something that happens overnight. It requires intention, consistency, and practice. Here are some ways you can lead by example in the workplace:
The simplest way to lead by example is to lead from the front, instead of from the sidelines. By getting involved in your team's initiatives, you are showing them that you value their work, understand their contribution, and appreciate their time.
Getting involved doesn't mean taking over the initiativebut rather, showing your team that you support their work. You can do this by:
Participating in brainstorming sessions, meetings, and workshops
Offering your expertise, advice, and resources
Helping with tasks that are challenging or urgent
Providing constructive feedback and guidance
Celebrating milestones and successes
Another way to lead by example is to be consistent in your actions and words. This means aligning your behavior with your values, goals, and expectations. When you are consistent, you show your team that you are reliable, trustworthy, and authentic.
Being consistent also means holding yourself accountable for your actions and decisions. If you make a mistake, admit it and learn from it. If you promise something, deliver it. If you set a rule, follow it. Don't expect your team to do something that you wouldn't do yourself.
Communication is key to any successful leadership. When you communicate effectively, you show your team that you care about their opinions, needs, and feelings. You also help them understand your vision, goals, and expectations.
To communicate effectively, you need to:
Listen actively and empathetically to your team members
Share relevant information and updates with your team
Provide clear and specific instructions and feedback
Encourage open and honest dialogue and feedback
Acknowledge and address any issues or conflicts
Leading by example doesn't mean doing everything yourself. It means empowering others to do their best work. When you empower others, you show them that you trust them, respect them, and believe in them.
You can empower others by:
Delegating tasks and responsibilities according to their skills and interests
Providing autonomy and flexibility in how they work
Encouraging them to take initiative and make decisions
Supporting them to learn new skills and grow professionally
Creating opportunities for them to showcase their work and achievements
A simple way to lead by example is to show appreciation for your team's efforts and achievements. When you show appreciation, you show your team that you recognize their value, contribution, and impact. You also motivate them to keep up the good work.
You can show appreciation by:
Saying thank you and giving compliments
Giving rewards and incentives
Giving public recognition and praise
Giving constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement
Giving credit where credit is due
Model positive behaviors
The most important way to lead by example is to model positive behaviors that reflect your integrity, respect, and emotional intelligence. When you model positive behaviors, you show your team how to act professionally, ethically, and respectfully.
You can model positive behaviors by:
Being honest and transparent in your communication and actions
Being respectful and courteous to everyone in the workplace
Being supportive and collaborative with your team members
Being responsible and accountable for your actions and decisions
Being adaptable and resilient in the face of change and challenges
Being optimistic and enthusiastic about your work and goals
The final way to lead by example is to keep learning new things. When you keep learning, you show your team that you are curious, humble, and open-minded. You also show them that you are committed to improving yourself and your work.
You can keep learning by:
Seeking feedback from others on your performance and behavior Embracing challenges as opportunities for growth Taking courses, reading books, or attending events related to your field Trying new methods, tools, or strategies Mentoring or coaching others or seeking a mentor or coach for yourself Examples of Leading by Example in Different Situations Leading by example as a manager If you are a manager, leading by example is crucial for building trust, respect, and loyalty with your team. You need to show them that you are not only a boss but also a leader who cares about their success. Leading by example as a team member
If you are a team member, leading by example is a great way to show your initiative, contribution, and potential. You can inspire and influence others by being a role model and a team player.
You can lead by example as a team member by:
Completing your tasks on time and with quality
Volunteering to help others or take on extra work
Sharing your ideas, insights, and feedback
Collaborating and cooperating with your teammates
Resolving conflicts constructively and respectfully
Supporting and celebrating your teammates' successes
Leading by example as a remote worker
If you are a remote worker, leading by example is essential for maintaining communication, collaboration, and trust with your team. You need to show them that you are productive, reliable, and engaged.
You can lead by example as a remote worker by:
Setting and following a regular work schedule
Communicating your availability and progress
Using the right tools and platforms for your work
Participating in virtual meetings and events
Staying focused and avoiding distractions
Taking breaks and maintaining a healthy work-life balance
How to Measure the Impact of Leading by Example
Leading by example can have a positive impact on your team's performance, engagement, and satisfaction. But how can you measure this impact? Here are some ways you can track and evaluate the results of leading by example:
Track key performance indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are measurable values that indicate how well you and your team are achieving your goals. You can use KPIs to monitor and evaluate the impact of leading by example on various aspects of your work, such as productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.
Some examples of KPIs you can use are:
The number of tasks completed or projects delivered
The quality of the output or the customer feedback
The time spent or the budget used
The revenue generated or the cost saved
The customer retention or the customer acquisition rate
Conduct surveys and interviews
Surveys and interviews are qualitative methods that allow you to gather feedback from your team and stakeholders. You can use surveys and interviews to assess the impact of leading by example on your team's behavior, engagement, and morale.
Some examples of questions you can ask are:
How do you feel about working with me/your leader? How do you feel about working with your teammates? How do you feel about your work environment and culture? What are some of the behaviors or habits that you learned from me/your leader? What are some of the behaviors or habits that you adopted or changed because of me/your leader? What are some of the challenges or difficulties that you faced or overcame because of me/your leader? Observe changes in your team's behavior, engagement, and morale Another way to measure the impact of leading by example is to observe changes in your team's behavior, engagement, and morale. You can use your own observation or ask others for their observation to see how leading by example has influenced your team's attitude, motivation, and performance.
Some examples of changes you can look for are:
Your team members are more proactive, creative, and confident Your team members are more cooperative, supportive, and respectful Your team members are more enthusiastic, positive, and optimistic Your team members are more committed, loyal, and satisfied Conclusion Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to inspire and motivate your team. It shows them that you are not only a leader but also a role model who cares about their success. It also helps you build trust, respect, and loyalty with your team.
To lead by example in the workplace, you need to:
Get involved in your team's initiatives Be consistent in your actions and words Communicate effectively with your team Empower others to do their best work Show appreciation for your team's efforts and achievements Model positive behaviors that reflect your integrity, respect, and emotional intelligence Keep learning new things and improving yourself By leading by example, you can create a positive work environment and culture that fosters teamwork, productivity, and satisfaction. You can also measure the impact of leading by example by tracking KPIs, conducting surveys and interviews, and observing changes in your team's behavior, engagement, and morale.
So, what are you waiting for? Start leading by example today and see the difference it makes for you and your team!
Q1: What are some common mistakes to avoid when leading by example?
A1: Some common mistakes to avoid when leading by example are:
Being a micromanager or a control freak Being inconsistent or hypocritical Being arrogant or dismissive Being passive or indifferent Being negative or pessimistic Q2: How can I inspire others to lead by example?
A2: You can inspire others to lead by example by:
Giving them feedback and recognition Giving them opportunities and challenges Giving them support and guidance Giving them autonomy and responsibility Giving them examples and stories Q3: How can I balance leading by example and delegating tasks?
A3: You can balance leading by example and delegating tasks by:
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses Knowing your team's skills and interests Knowing your priorities and goals Knowing when to step in and when to step back Knowing how to communicate and collaborate Q4: How can I lead by example when I disagree with my leader's decisions?
A4: You can lead by example when you disagree with your leader's decisions by:
Respecting their authority and position Expressing your opinion respectfully and constructively Focusing on the facts and the goals Finding common ground and compromise Following through with your commitments and responsibilities Q5: How can I lead by example when I face resistance or criticism from others?
A5: You can lead by example when you face resistance or criticism from others by:
Listening to their perspective and feedback Acknowledging their concerns and emotions Explaining your rationale and intention Seeking solutions and alternatives Maintaining your confidence and professionalism