Why Employees Need You to Lead by Example


As the boss, you’re in control. You can tell your employees to do pretty much whatever you want — within reason — and they’re supposed to listen. However, by now you’ve probably noticed people aren’t as susceptible to direction you don’t even follow yourself. Some might begrudgingly follow suit, but they’re probably not too energetic about it.

No matter what the initiative, better results are always realized when you lead by example. Actions speak louder than words, so if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is — figuratively, of course — you’ll get the attention of your staff.

3 Reasons to Lead by Example

  1. Make Your Expectations Clear

Your employees aren’t mind-readers. Sometimes a description of what you want them to do isn’t enough, whereas leading by example makes your expectations crystal clear. This shows people exactly what you want from them, eliminating any grey area. Plan to see fewer mistakes, because this makes it easier to get work done right the first time.

  1. Set the Tone

When new rules, processes and procedures are announced, it’s hard for employees to take them seriously if the boss isn’t adhering to them. Your noncompliance sends an unspoken message that following these orders is optional, even though it’s not. As the person who makes the rules, if you don’t consider them important enough to follow, you can’t expect anyone else to care either.

  1. Earn Employees’ Respect

Employees respond best to a boss who acts like one of them — not someone who flaunts their power. You might make a rule for a great reason, but they’ll quickly become resentful if they have to follow it and you don’t. For example, if you require staffers to be at work at 8 a.m. sharp, but don’t come into the office until 9 a.m. yourself, people will lose respect for you. If you’re not going to follow your own rules, don’t force the rest of the team to do so either.

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