We’ve all had bosses who are, to put it lightly, less than motivating to work for. Bosses who cut out at noon every Friday but expect you to be on call over the weekend. Bosses who demand that you go the extra mile but can’t be bothered to proofread their own emails. Bosses who don’t delegate or teach anything but are infuriated when you don’t have a particular skill.
But now, you’re the boss, and you can do better.
Great leadership starts with your own actions – the way you approach your own work, the priorities that you set, and the way that you treat the people who report to you. In order to be effective as a leader you need to garner the respect, trust, and ideally the admiration of the people you lead, and the best way to lay the foundation for all three is leading employees by example.
Here are three simple ways to start becoming a great leader.
- Focus on Learning
Self-improvement should be a perpetual goal for everyone, especially in the business world. By taking the time to learn new skills and strengthen old ones, you’ll make yourself a more valuable asset and you’ll also enjoy your work more, because you’ll get more out of it. It’s also important to allow yourself time for outside interests and hobbies that give you balance outside of work, help you relax, and stimulate different parts of your brain.
The same goes for your employees. When you enjoy the benefits of continual learning, it’s easier to see why others should have opportunities to learn, too. Making time for your self-improvement is a good reminder that you should do the same for others, and spending time as a student will help you become a better teacher, because it will help you put yourself in the shoes of the people who learn from you.
- Focus on Communication
Communication is one of those things that we all think we’re better at than we actually are. Making your communication skills a priority will help ensure that you have better working relationships with the people on your team. By remembering to take time to thank people, for example, you can build morale and also help make your thought process clearer. Likewise, learning how to work through problems in conversation will make you a better leader while also strengthening your communication with your own boss.
- Focus on Expectations
As a leader, you should be setting expectations for yourself that are clear to you and the people around you. Under the umbrella of expectations, you should be writing down goals for your personal development and for work projects. You might also set expectations for how you should be treated in the workplace, and you should respect your employees with the same standards of conduct.
You should also set expectations for yourself in terms of work/life balance. If you’re a parent, for example, you might be offline from five to eight every night. As long as you are clear about your needs and find ways to make your schedule work for you, that sort of expectation can be an effective way to set boundaries that your employees can see and feel empowered to emulate.
What are some other ways that you lead by example? Share them in our comments section.