The Art of Leading By Example and the Steps Necessary to Get There

As a manager, you have a choice to lead your team by example every day…and here is why you should. Would it really make much sense to set expectations for you employees and then not play by the same rules yourself? If you want your employees to have respect for you and your business, you must learn to lead by example. Leading by example is important for two main reasons: it’s highly effective and it makes people want to follow you. If you want to set the right tone for those in the lower levels of your organization, it begins with how you behave. One of the best ways to build trust with your team is to lead by example. Here are a few examples of how you can inspire your team through your own behavior. 

Get your Hands Dirty

As a manager, you can’t lead from the sidelines. You need to actually work alongside your team and get involved in the everyday ins and outs of the business. You can’t exactly instruct others on how to do the job well if you don’t know how to do it yourself. You need to put in a little elbow grease and be willing to do the work, even if it’s not your job to do it. This sets the tone for others about the importance of teamwork and stepping up to help each other.  

Take Responsibility

The best leaders are those who can pass the credit and take the blame. If you blame your team for failure, you will make them defensive and frustrated. This will ruin any trust you may have built. Great leaders, on the other hand, accept personal responsibility for the failures of their team and they do so with humility and graciousness. This will set an example for the rest of the team to learn how to accept responsibility for their actions. 

Be Mindful of Your Words

What you say to your employees and about them can have a direct impact on their performance and morale. Always be mindful of what you say and to whom you are speaking. You want to show respect for every member of your team through encouraging words and support. 


As managers, you can sometimes be so consumed with directing others that you forget to listen to them. A sign of great leadership is knowing when and how to listen to your team.  Your team is your most valuable asset, and their opinions matter. Model to them what it means to care by asking questions, encouraging feedback, and fostering a healthy dialogue. 

Don’t Micromanage

It is your job to communicate the vision, value, and goals for your team but it’s not your job to micromanage them every step of the way. Empower your team by stepping back and allowing them to work freely. You don’t need to control every aspect of what they do.