Companies can be built from the top down or bottom up, but whatever their strengths and structure, one thing is for sure – they all crumble without an effective leader. To be the leader your company deserves, you’ll need to lead by example.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at just some of the reasons it’s important for leaders to serve as role models for the rest of their employees.
- Setting the Tone
One thing that definitely emanates from the top down in many successful companies is the tone. If a leader is only out for themselves or doesn’t care about details, that callousness and carelessness will filter down to the rest of the company, slowly poisoning it. On the other hand, coming to work every day with a positive attitude and strong work ethic will encourage others to do the same.
- Earning Trust
A leader who lies and can’t be trusted will encourage others to do the same. Look at political leaders across the globe. No matter your personal politics, you can probably think of leaders both on the other side of the aisle as well as your own who come off as slimy and deceitful. They aren’t the kind of people you’d want leading your country, so why would you want them leading your company? Act like them and break your word too many times, and you won’t have any trust among your colleagues.
- Building Integrity
By contrast, if you keep your word and demonstrate that you at least always try to make good on your word, it will encourage others to do the same. Moreover, it can help improve the quality of work. People don’t feel bad about cutting corners for a boss who does it themselves. When you show you mean what you say and work hard every day, it sets a standard employees must meet. This also makes it easier to dismiss those who can’t, without you seeming like the bad guy.
- Connect with Employees (and Listen to Criticism)
On the eve of the Battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare’s Henry V, the titular king disguises himself as a common soldier and goes among his troops – only to find that they’re uncertain about him and the coming battle. If Shakespeare’s greatest king can take criticism, so can you. As Shakespeare’s Henry shows, it’s important to forge a bond with the “Band of Brothers” (and Sisters) with whom you work, and you can’t do so while acting like you’re above them. Henry is always in the thick of the fight with his men, listens to and cares about those he leads – and so should you.
By taking these points to heart, you can be the role model and leader your company needs.