6 Key Tips for Leading by Example
Leading is all about influence. How you present yourself in a leadership role affects your ability to successfully leverage authority and motivate others. Do you inspire people to follow your lead? If not, consider evaluating your performance and addressing crucial gaps.
Tweaking a few key behaviors can make a huge difference in how others perceive you. Many people don’t take this point seriously enough and damage relationships, reputations and careers in the process. Be proactive. Here's the deal: Leading can be a rewarding, yet challenging undertaking. Follow these six tips to model excellence and gracefully inspire others to follow your lead:
1. Establish an impeccable standard of excellence.
Set high expectations at the outset and raise the bar on any crucial factors. The best way to establish a standard is by modeling the expected behavior yourself. Showcase excellence. When your actions have the potential to affect everyone around you and the bottom line, don't dabble in mediocrity. Reflecting excellence is critical to exercising effective leadership. This is ground zero for establishing influence.
2. Deliver on results promised.
Able leadership requires an ability to deliver results. Rhetoric has little value if outcomes are what's essential. Instead of touting wins from past performances, focus on capturing tangible gains now.
Harness the power of chunking, a process for organizing tasks and breaking them down into bite-size pieces to avoid stress and burnout. Remember to follow up and follow through, too.
Engage experts if necessary to timely and competently pull projects forward. In the end, only substance and the final sum will matter. Excuses won’t.
3. Value people and nurture relationships.
Top-notch people skills are vital to sound leadership. Develop premium listening, communication and decision-making skill sets. Demonstrate integrity by being open, honest and fair.
Your transparency will reap clear rewards. If you treat people well, most will be encouraged to return the favor. By elevating the importance of people and relationships, you enhance your ability to relate to others in an authentic and meaningful way.
4. Promote strategic cooperation.
Collaboration is an indispensable component of leadership as captured in John Donne's line “No man is an island." This is especially true if you can build high-performing teams, according to the Harvard Business Review's site. Isn’t it fascinating that no matter how brilliant people are as individuals, they are often far more effective when working with others?
People often produce higher quality, more efficient work products when collaborating. Commit to this by actively embracing opportunities for healthy cooperation. Make teamwork an attractive aspect of workplace culture. Less burnout, increased trust among peers and enhanced interpersonal relationships will result.
5. Resolve conflict quickly and effectively.
Approach conflict proactively, which means the sooner you resolve things, the better. As a core leadership competency, conflict resolution is a delicate process that requires thoughtful intervention. Disagreements naturally occur. But persistent hostility should not be tolerated. The bottom line? Conflict gets in the way of everything else. Thus your ability to quickly and effectively facilitate resolution will undoubtedly boost your ability to lead.
6. Freely develop and support others.
Professional development is an extraordinary mechanism for facilitating growth. Demonstrate your commitment to expanding your reach and your team's by prioritizing opportunities for enrichment. Allot time and resources to make the process stress free. Challenge yourself and your team to overcome shortcomings at regular intervals throughout the year. Then acknowledge and reward proactive participation to build enthusiasm and encourage continued progress.
Related: Are You a Good Leader? (Infographic)
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
Karima Mariama-Arthur is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. that specializes in professional development. She trains, coaches and consults for individuals and organizations on the dynamics of complex communication and high-performance leadership competence.