“Example is the school of mankind, and they will not learn from anyone else”. More than three centuries later, this quote by Edmund Burke, a British politician, philosopher and writer, still expresses a fundamental assumption today: in every area of life, including work, setting a good example counts more words. Actions, more than any speech or rhetoric.
Because, as behavioral psychologists confirm, human beings, from the earliest years of life, listen and think about words, but learn and learn mainly by example. That is, observing the behaviors and ways of doing the people around them, with whom they establish short or long-lasting relationships.
And that also applies to those who aspire to be a good leader in and out of the workplace. Because a good leader is a good leader when he sets a good example. When he shows trust and credibility to the people who follow him. When he is reliable for his workgroup and for his team and is a motivator who conveys, in a clear and consistent way, the values and the vision of the company.
But what are the best ways to be a good leader by example?
Brent Glesson, in his article 7 Simple Ways to Lead by Example, identified seven:
Get your hands dirty
You don’t have to be the most skilled or competent person. Don’t act like “the best”. Work alongside your team, get involved and delegate. This attitude will also help you build trust between you and the team and further develop your knowledge and skills.
Always pay attention to how you express yourself
Words are important, you know. And they can have a direct impact on the morale of the people you work with. Always be attentive and aware of what you say, to whom you say it and how you say it. Show support to all team members and if any of them need your support, don’t hold back. A good leader always comes to your aid.
Respect the “chain of command”
One of the fastest ways to cause structural “hitches”, create confusion and lower morale is to disregard the roles and value of each individual team member. Do not substitute for those you have delegated and do not pose with superiority. If you have established a hierarchy, it is important that it is respected to ensure efficiency and to achieve your goals.
Listen to your team
When you are a leader, you are often more likely to give directions, orders and forget to stop and listen. The sign of good leadership is “knowing you don’t know”, as the philosopher Socrates said. So take some time to listen to others and regularly ask your team for their opinion.
Great leaders know how to recognize their mistakes and they also know how to remedy them. You have to take responsibility and avoid placing the blame on other team members.
Make room for your team members
Don’t be afraid to delegate some tasks or responsibilities to your team members, leaving the room for action and avoiding excessive control. Communicate your goals and let your team work alone and challenge themselves.
Take care of yourself
Don’t neglect yourself physically and mentally and don’t reach the burn-out point. Remember that your team depends on you and if, at some point, you feel unfit or feel the need to take a break, do it. The more you take care of yourself, the greater the efficiency you will guarantee for your work.