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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on May 17, 2011

Check out the intro post for this series here.

This may be the shortest rule on the list, but it carries with it a lot of weight.
As managers and leaders it is important to understand that what you do and how you act will impact your staff and their decisions.

  1. Does your team take all their meetings from the golf course? Do you?
  2. Can you fire a cannon ball through your office on a Friday afternoon?
  3. Are you sending and responding to emails at 6am and 11pm alike? Do you expect a response?
  4. Do you work through your lunches and weekends? Or do you shut off at 5:00pm?

As you can imagine, setting a clear example of work ethic will set the tone for your team to follow. But remember to make sure that your actions are worth mirroring. Avoid both extremes and ensure a healthy work-life balance. If you prefer a more relaxed, flexible routine that includes offsite meetings and summer hours than be prepared for your team to want the same, or resent you for keeping it from them.

Some environments call for long hours and workaholic like attitudes – like stock traders and law firms. The good thing is those environments will attract those kinds of personalities. Your goal is to foster an environment that generates productivity conducive to your respective industry. Setting a tone that encourages your team to go the extra mile is very different than demanding they be available at all hours of the night for work related matters.

  • Do you blow up and jump down the throats of team members when you get stressed?
  • Do you limit your interaction with teammates to only email or only phone?
  • Do you take the time to interact with your team or do your force a hierarchy of command?

Your work style is another key area to lead by example. If your work style is relaxed chances are higher that your team will follow suite. If your work style is high strung, it may be contagious as well. If you want creative, level headed attitudes from your team, the best way to get them is to be creative and level headed yourself. It will inspire confidence in your team that they too can achieve the same results. Why not? You’re living proof.

Leading by example can be your secret weapon to success if you are self-aware.

At the risk of oversimplifying things consider this: monkey see, monkey do.
So be the best monkey you can be.

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