I bet you heard that children do not do as you tell them, they do as you do. Some of you might have children of your own and know exactly what I mean. And even when we know, it is sometime hard to remember from time to time. Guess what, the same applies in your business.
As a leader it is very important to be a good example of what you want to see more of in your business. And remember that a leader is not only someone that has the title of manager. There are two types here; the formal and the informal leader. The first is the one that have the title of manager, AND have earned the respect of the team. The latter is someone that is not having the formal title, but still has earned the respect of the team to be a leader.
What you do as a leader have a direct impact of that the follower also do. If you behave too much out the zone-of-trust then your followers will leave you. You are no longer their leader. But within that zone, you have an impact on their behavior. Therefore it is important for you to live up to the expectation. You cannot say one thing and do another.
- If you say that we should have respect for each other then you show disrespect for someone, you signal something else to the followers. And it does not matter if that disrespect is to someone outside your team of followers. You have shown that it is okay to disrespect someone.
- If you say that we take care of your customers then you complain about them at the break room, then you signal something else.
- If you say that it is important to look after your health then you work a lot more than everybody else, skip your exercises, and gain weight, then you are signaling something else.
- If you have policies about not drinking alcohol at business dinners then show up with receipts for your travel expense claim that shows something different, you are signaling something else.
- If you say that project X is the most important project that you have in your business, but when the team want to present some of the result to you, you never prioritize them. Then you are signaling something else to them.
- If you tell the team to save money as the business is having a tough time, and then you fly business class and stay at expensive hotels, you are signaling something else.
It is so important that you act as a good example to your followers. If you do not, you will eventually lose your followers and then you are no leader anymore. You might still be a manger, but you are not a leader. In order to become and stay a leader, it is very important that you walk the talk. Think, act, and talk in a way that conform with the way that you want the organization to think, act and talk. As a leader you have more power than you think to be the role model. Take that chance and be of real class.
To you and your business excellence.