Have you ever had a supervisor who worked right alongside you when needed? A supervisor who pitched in when you were short-staffed or needed clarification? If so, you most likely respected that supervisor more than someone who dictated directions. The supervisor willing to "walk the talk" inspires others to model that behavior and put forth the extra time and effort to ensure the job is done. Here are a few ways you can help lead by example:
1. Do the Hard Work
Effective supervisors work alongside their teams. You might have an office, but don't isolate yourself from colleagues and employees. Ensure that you are visibly working alongside your team. It shows your employees that you are in this together and demonstrates your commitment to your colleagues. Also, the knowledge you can gain from working with your team is invaluable. You can better understand individual skill sets and assign projects and jobs accordingly, which enables you to better guide employees when questions arise. By doing the hard work, your employees will be more successful.
Listening is a sign of respect. We should listen to our bosses, we should listen to those who work for us, and we should listen to those who work alongside us. Listening to your team shows that you want to know more about them and that you care. It also shows that their questions and suggestions are important. Meaningful and respectful interactions with your team allow individuals to feel more confident and comfortable when they need to bring up any issues. The more we listen, the more we learn.
3. Follow Through
If you say something, then follow through and do it. Doing what you say is the foundation of trust. Following through on promises is another way to showcase your level of commitment and build more trust. Many supervisors say their employees are willing to take on additional responsibilities and become more engaged when they have a supervisor who lives up to their promises.
4. Take Accountability
Taking accountability for your actions is another way of practicing ethical leadership. Owning up to your mistakes and demonstrating ethical behavior is an important part of taking accountability for your actions. By following these simple tactics, you will demonstrate values such as honesty, fairness, integrity, respect, and transparency.
5. Trust your Team
To trust your team, you must first ensure they understand the company's goals, values, and mission. It's also imperative that they understand the role they play in achieving each of these. Also, keep in mind that they were hired for a reason. As a supervisor, you should have complete trust in your team. By trusting them, you will gain their trust. Supervisors' faith in their teams results in productivity and creates a positive culture that serves as an example for others.
6. Follow the Rules
While people often think of rules and guidelines negatively, they are also positive. In a work environment where you want a business to run efficiently and productively, rules and guidelines are necessary. They can provide clarity around responsibilities and expectations. Once the rules and guidelines are in place, supervisors must also follow them. By setting a good example, your team will likely follow suit.
Leading by example has a multitude of benefits. Gaining the trust and respect of your team might be one of the most important benefits. Employees begin to see their supervisors as trusted mentors. Supervisors who commit to workplace values create and foster a positive culture that spreads throughout their organizations. Productivity increases when employees see everyone, including their supervisor, working hard. Conversely, supervisors who don't lead by example can expect negative results such as low morale, decreased productivity, high turnover, and more safety incidents involving injuries.
Employees want a supervisor who models actions that showcase "leading by example." As a supervisor, you can inspire others to emulate your behaviors. The big takeaway for leaders is this: Be the change you want to see within your people.