Why business management should lead by example

Michael Patrick is an attorney, passionate problem solver and COO of The Property Advocates.

There are many different types of leadership styles and many different ways to be successful as a leader. Looking back through history, you will find plenty of examples of successful people who used different leadership styles.

Whether you are a visionary leader, a delegated leader, or a participative leader, I believe that one’s actual leadership style doesn’t really matter as long as it works for the person using it.

However, I have found that one trait that is amazing for many successful business management professionals is that they lead by example. Below is a more detailed overview of why every business management should lead by example.

You can be sure that you are not a hypocrite.

Business management professionals who practice what they preach can avoid being labeled hypocrites by their employees. Hypocritical leaders can kill team morale and struggle to gain support. When managers say one thing and then do another, they can make individual team members feel less than or beneath their leaders. This creates the feeling that employees are working for management than with them.

When employees feel undervalued or not valued at all, it’s a tough blow, especially after they’ve invested so much time and energy to get their jobs done. It is similarly devastating if employees feel as though the company’s policies, processes and procedures do not apply to leaders.

You can position yourself as a leader.

The words “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, but there are significant and important differences between the two. All those in higher business positions should strive to be the latter, not the former, and do so by leading by example.

The manager (or boss) gives orders from the top of the hill and instructs the team on how they should accomplish their mission. The leader, in contrast, is in the trenches as part of the team. They help the team, by example and inspiration, to achieve the mission. A manager is focused on the actions and results of the team as a whole, while a leader is focused on each individual involved and the journey the team must go through.

You can get a significant buy-in.

If you want to establish an inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and rowing the boat in the same direction, you need to get the buy-in of all employees. Real leaders do this by educating employees about the “why” behind each task and the entire process.

“Why” is never “because I’m the boss, and I said so.” Rather, it is an informational and educational process that actually engages and engages employees. When team members know why they’re working on a task, rather than just going through a checklist, I’ve found that they become much more effective. Understanding the “why” helps them be more confident about the “what.” And confidence is one of the most important motivational factors there is.

What you say holds more validity.

When you lead by example, employees understand that your suggestions and ideas come from practical knowledge, not theory. Your actions, in other words, add validity to what you say.

Join the action together with your employees. In this way, you can arouse confidence and motivation. In my experience, it can also result in increased productivity, as team members often try to match the leader’s energy level and work ethic.

Ultimately, the real beneficiaries of all of this are your customers and clients, who receive the same high-quality care whether they deal directly with a manager or another team member.

You are preparing others to follow in your footsteps.

Leading by example helps create the next generation of leaders. It’s like Will Allen Dromgoole’s song called “The Bridge Builder”. It is important for leaders to make the next person’s way easier. You can do this by using your journey, experiences and lessons to lighten the load for those who follow.

Business management professionals who want to build an internal team of future leaders should start early and mentor people. Everyone has their own style and way of leading a team, but it should be hoped that you can pass on the ideas of that “bridge builder” to the next leader to adopt and expand.

This mentorship will also emphasize leading by example. Your mentors can follow you throughout the day and see how you handle different tasks and challenges. As they become more confident and experience, you can delegate more tasks and give them more autonomy until they fully take over the role — leaving you to watch and support them.

Leading by example will build your team members and prepare them for more prominent roles in the future. Ultimately, this results in your team being more productive, effective and efficient while you feel more satisfied with what they are doing.

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