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Ten Ways to Lead by Example

Abigail Phillips
|Jan 12|magazine14 min read

It should really go without saying but good leaders, well, they lead. The best business leaders set the standard with actions rather than words. They are the first one into the office, and the last out each day. They take on their fair share of workload and will be an advocate for the company inside and outside the office. But leading by example is a skill that needs to be honed like any other and it takes practice, discipline and self-motivation.

Here are a few tips on how to lead by example.

1. Take on your fair share of the workload
To gain the respect of your team and inspire greatness at your company, its important you lead from the front and take on your fair share of the workload. In today’s competitive business world, it is no longer acceptable to sit behind an office door and dictate – you need to prove your own ability and teach those around you by doing. Furthermore, if you can demonstrate to your team that you are putting in as much time and effort (if not more) than them, they are more likely to work harder for you and the business.

Read more: Why Allowing Your Employees to Telecommute is Good for Business

2. Listen to those around you
An important trait of any business leader is the ability to listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand and you’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue. Communication is critical to the success of any company and if you as a leader take the time to promote open discourse, your employees will thrive and so will your business.

3. Take responsibility
Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth. As a business leader it’s critical you take responsibility for your own actions and encourage others to do the same. Create a team focused, collaborative environment to spark real growth at the business.

Read more: Key Takeaways for Hiring Business Leaders and Managers

4. Take risks
Inspire change and innovation by taking calculated risks – it will demonstrate your commitment to a larger purpose and will breed a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. If those around you see you put your head above the parapet and be counted, they will be encouraged to do the same. This entrepreneurial mindset will catapult your business to new heights.

5. Find solutions not problems
Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team to do the same. In business, you will come across problems, hurdles and challenges (they are unavoidable) but it’s how you overcome those problems as a team that will define your business.

Read more: Ten Critical Steps to Achieving Magnetic Leadership

6. Be honest with your team
Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really is the best policy and promote open, truthful and collaborative communication at your business. Honesty in all facets of business – success, failure, goals and changes – is crucial.

7. Identify the strengths of others
Astute business leaders and entrepreneurs are tuned into the people who work around them. If an employee is having a bad day, go easy on that person. Likewise, know when individual players are feeling fired up and motivated and challenge them accordingly.

Read more: Why Neural Leadership Could Boost Your Bottom Line

Pay attention to the people around you and give them responsibility in their area of strength or passion so they can develop as individuals. This will in turn help the company expand, diversify and grow. It will also make for a dynamic corporate culture.

8. Acknowledge failure
When you are running a business its not a case of if you make a mistake, but when. Failure is part of success, as long as you learn from it. If you acknowledge your own failure, it makes it all right for your team to do the same. The process will define failure as part of becoming extraordinary.

Read more: Why Leaders Need to Embrace Failure as a Form of Success

9. Promote a culture of wellbeing
Exercise, don’t overwork, take breaks, eat well and ensure you get enough sleep each night. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it and support it.

Read more: Fighting Workplace Wellness

10. Be persistent
Try, try and then try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your company or team, rather your successes do. As a leader it is your duty to keep morale buoyant and encourage your team to keep plugging away towards the company’s end goals.      

 

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Business Review USA, which can be found here—and don't forget to check out the January 2015 issue by clicking here

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