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How to Be a Good Role Model for Your Employees, Customers and Community (and Why It's Important) How your choices can ignite a positive chain reaction and transform your business.

By Erik Bergman

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every impactful journey starts with a single step. As an entrepreneur, your actions, decisions and leadership style become the driving force behind your brand. You are the catalyst, much like the first drop of water that triggers a waterfall, and your actions can spark a cascade of positive change.

Being a positive example means living the values you want your organization to represent. This extends to every aspect of your business — from the way you treat your employees to the way you engage with customers, from your operational processes to your marketing strategies. When your actions align with your mission and values, it becomes a powerful motivator for others to follow your lead.

For instance, if your mission is to combat a significant global issue, such as climate change, poverty or food insecurity, your actions should reflect this commitment. This can take the form of content that showcases your work on the ground, the impact you're making and the people you're helping.

Related: The Role Model Mindset: Being a Great Entrepreneur Is About Showing Others What's Possible

Why being a positive role model is important — and how to be one

As an entrepreneur, you are a role model for your employees, customers, and community. Your actions and words have the power to inspire or discourage, motivate or demoralize. That's why it's so important to be a positive role model.

Here are a few things you can do to be a positive role model for your business:

  • Live your values: What are the most important things to you? Honesty? Integrity? Compassion? Make sure your actions align with your values.

  • Be positive: Make an effort to be positive and upbeat even when things are tough.

  • Be willing to help others: When you help others, you make the world a better place and you also build goodwill for your business.

  • Be a good listener: Take the time to listen to your employees, customers and community members.

Let's dive a little further into some of these with more actionable strategies.

Being authentic and true to your values

Authenticity is integral to building trust with your audience, customers and team. In the age of digital transparency, consumers are becoming increasingly adept at distinguishing genuine brands from those that merely put on a show.

When I started Great.com, I wanted transparency to be one of the core principles, so I made employee salaries public, posted every team meeting and pushed for a completely transparent and honest foundation. This set precedence for our team and cultivated a feeling of trust internally.

When you live by your core values, it guides your decision-making process, influences your policies and shapes your brand. For instance, if one of your core values is to bring about positive change in the world, you should be willing to openly talk and share your philanthropic efforts internally and externally.

This also extends to financial transparency. If your organization is funded through public channels like views, merchandise sales or direct donations, it's essential to communicate how these funds are being used. By ensuring that the majority of generated revenue goes directly into the mission, you demonstrate a commitment to your cause that goes beyond lip service. This commitment can influence others to align themselves with your cause, whether that's through direct support or by spreading your message.

Related: Why Authenticity Is a Key Ingredient to Entrepreneurial Success, and How to Make Sure You Have It

Trusting your team

No entrepreneur can build a successful venture single-handedly. It requires a collaborative effort, and an essential part of this collaboration is trusting your team. When you trust your team, you empower them to contribute their ideas, take ownership of their responsibilities and play an active role in driving the organization's mission forward.

My company is a completely remote organization with team members across the globe and in many different time zones. We don't force everyone to work the same hours and we don't require teammates to log into any time tracking software or "show their work" — we built our culture on trust and lean on personal accountability rather than external mandates and policies.

Trust breeds creativity and innovation. When team members feel their ideas and contributions are valued, they're more likely to bring forward unique insights that could lead your organization to new heights. It also helps cultivate a positive work environment where team members feel invested in their work, increasing their motivation and productivity.

Moreover, trust allows for effective delegation. As an entrepreneur, it's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to oversee everything. But by trusting your team and allowing them to take charge of different aspects of the business, you free up time and energy to focus on strategic planning and growth.

For instance, trusting a team member to lead a significant project or even front your brand's public communication, can bring a fresh perspective and add another level of authenticity and relatability to your brand.

Setting a positive example, being authentic and living by your values, and trusting your team are powerful strategies that can help any entrepreneur shape a successful and impactful venture. They not only contribute to the growth and success of your business but also inspire others to join your mission, creating a domino effect of positive change.

Related: A True Leader Doesn't Just Talk the Talk — They Walk the Walk. Here's How to Lead from the Front.

When you act as a positive role model, you set the standard for how your organization operates and how it interacts with the world. This means embodying your mission in every decision you make, every action you take and every message you send. It's about practicing what you preach and showing others what your organization stands for.

By implementing these principles, entrepreneurs can inspire others, create a loyal following and make a difference locally and throughout the world. They can turn their entrepreneurial venture from a simple business into a force for good, one that not only generates profit but also contributes positively to the world.

Erik Bergman

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Great.com

Erik Bergman co-founded Catena Media and helped grow it to over 300 employees and a $200 million valuation before stepping away to start Great.com, an iGaming organization that donates 100% of its profits to environmental charities.

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