10 Keys to Leading by Example

We have all heard the adage “actions speak louder than words” and this is especially true in terms of leadership. If you are in a leadership position, your employees are watching every move you make. This is not necessarily because they want to spy on your every move, but rather that they want to know if what you say and what you do are the same. In other words, if you’re going to walk the walk. The things you do are far more powerful than the words you speak. If you want to gain the trust and confidence of your employees, you must lead by example. Here are 10 ways to lead by example and build a culture of trust and accountability in the workplace. 

  • Be kind and respectful to everyone.

Positive workplace culture is vital to success and that begins with respect. Certainly, any manager would expect their employees to be respectful to each other, so it only makes sense that they are also kind and respectful to everyone. Everyone is entitled to a bad day from time to time, so managers need to keep that in mind and be sensitive to employees during these times and seek ways to support them. 

  • Be a good listener. 

We all know that teams that work well together also communicate well with each other. This involves listening to each other’s ideas and valuing the opinions of others. Managers can condition their employees to be good listeners by showing this same respect for themselves. They should encourage employees to share thoughts and ideas and listen attentively. After all, employees are a company’s most valuable asset so it only makes sense to listen to their ideas.

  • Get your hands dirty.

No one enjoys working for someone who micromanages them. When a manager sits back and dictates orders without being willing to do it themself, it sets the stage for resentment. The “dirty work” is never easy but if the leader in the room is willing to work on something that’s not their job, no one else will be able to complain about it. 

  • Take responsibility for mistakes.

It’s never easy to admit when we have done something wrong, but if the manager takes responsibility for their actions, so will the rest of their team. The best leaders never blame their team for mistakes, but rather accept responsibility for the failure of their team. Humility is a trait of true leadership and one that should be demonstrated by example. 

  • Give praise and credit.

It is so beneficial for employees to work in an environment that celebrates successes. Happy employees equal engaged employees and one of the easiest ways to make employees happy is by letting them know you appreciate them. Managers who take time to acknowledge successes create an atmosphere where employees celebrate and encourage each other.

  • Be honest.

In order to build a trusting relationship with employees, managers need to be open and honest at all times. Withholding information or lying about things causes employees to second-guess the organization as a whole. Conversely, when a manager demonstrates honest communication, it sets the tone for employees to be honest as well. 

  • Follow through on your promises.

If you want to build a culture of trust, that starts by following through on your promises. This shows your team that you are committed to them and you will not let them down. This helps employees to build confidence in you as their leader. 

  • Be positive and passionate about your work. 

It’s tough to expect your employees to come to work with a positive attitude if you don’t have one yourself. It is important for managers to demonstrate a passion for their work and have productive energy. This will translate into more motivated employees who share the same passion for their work. 

  • Attend workshops and training sessions.

Even leaders have room to grow and it’s important to demonstrate this commitment to gaining knowledge, education, and experience. When employees see their manager taking steps to increase their skill set, they will feel more inspired to do so themselves.

  • Follow the rules.

Managers should never make rules for their employees that they don’t follow themselves. This could be anything from dress code to cell phone policies to work hours. When you follow the rules, employees will see that the same expectations apply to everyone and they will be more likely to follow suit.