This is the creed of the U.S. Navy SEALS, one of the most elite divisions of our nation’s armed forces. SEALs are trained as leaders, regardless of their age, experience level or rank. None of these criteria matter when it comes to being acknowledged as a leader. Instead, what it all boils down to is the premise that people truly follow only those they trust.
And the best way to earn trust? Lead by example.
Why It Matters
As a leader, your job is to inspire those around you to push themselves – and ultimately, your company – to greatness. In order to achieve this, it’s your responsibility to show your team members the way by doing it yourself.
Jack Welch, who led General Electric to renewed greatness during his tenure as CEO, was committed to the concept of “boundary-less organizations” where every stakeholder was encouraged to brainstorm and share ideas about making the company better. Welch stayed true to this passion and everyone, down to the lowest line workers, got his time and attention. Under Welch’s model of leadership by example, GE regained its status as a thriving company – all because employees at all levels trusted that Welch would keep his word.
How to Lead by Example
Leading – and living – by example is not as hard as it may sound. If your team knows you’ll do whatever you expect from them in order to ensure the success of a project, this commitment will quickly build morale and ultimately, boost productivity.
- You have a responsibility to your team. They look to you for guidance and strength. So part of your responsibility is to lead them with your own actions. This means keeping cool under pressure, taking ownership for your team’s activities and results, and leading with your own actions.
- Get your hands dirty. You don’t have to be the most advanced technical expert on the team, but you do need in-depth understanding of your job, your business and your industry. And you need to roll up your sleeves and work alongside your team members.
- Listen to your employees. Give them time and attention. This means waiting till it’s your turn to talk or offer your own opinion, ideas or perspective. And remember, a key sign of being a strong leader is recognizing that you don’t know it all.
- If you ask a team member to do something, be sure you’d be willing to do it yourself. And if you implement new rules, be sure to follow them yourself. For instance, if the rule is “no personal calls at work,” then that means you, too.
- Take responsibility. It doesn’t matter whether the person who messed up was one of your employees – or you. If you’re the leader, then the mistake is your responsibility.
The best leaders lead by example. And keep this leadership premise in mind: “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” It’s best to be both.
For more tips on honing your leadership skills – and further development at all levels of your organization – Give the experts at PrideStaff Modesto a call. Or contact us online today!