What is Authentic Leadership? How to Lead by Example in Your Business
What is Authentic Leadership? How to Lead by Example in Your Business. Let’s start with a little quiz: which one are you? A boss or a leader? We’ve covered this topic before on the blog but it’s relevant here too. Answer the following questions? Are you willing to do the most monotonous tasks, if they need to be done? Do you think your employees like you? Do you think they look up to you?
Do your employees think you’re approachable and do they approach you with ideas or suggestions? Do you lead by example?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then congratulations, you’re likely a leader and not a boss. A boss, on the other hand, is there to make sure everyone does what they’re supposed to, does it right, and manages situations when those things don’t happen.
Real-World Situations that Call for Leading By Example
The fact that you’re reading this blog means you’re one step closer to being a great leader – you’re investing in your leadership strategy (which only great leaders do). Read through some of the real-life situations below for examples of real situations that call for leading by example and ask yourself: what would I do?
1. There’s a Backlog of Tasks
Let’s say you have a deadline for moving all of your files from your tens of filing cabinets to the new online system. You’ve hired people to do this, but the deadline is coming up and they’re still drowning in files. Everyone else is doing necessary tasks to keep the business running and you find yourself with a free two hours between meetings, plus one you could easily reschedule for another day.
What do you do?
Someone who leads by example would roll up their sleeves, start typing and stay with the other employees as long as it takes to get everything done. Maybe they’d even order a pizza to keep morale up if it got really late.
Not only does this show you lead by example, but it shows your employees that there’s no task that’s below you and puts you on their level. You’ll earn their respect and you may even get closer to these colleagues because of the experience.
2. It’s Time to Cut Costs
You’ve met with your financial advisor and you need to lay off three people or find another way to recoup a large sum of money. You own this company on your own, with no other partners. However, you’ve been saving for the newest Tesla model and were ready to head to the dealership before having this meeting.
What do you do?
A leader would understand that the car can wait, their business needs attention. Your employees are the most valuable resource you have, and letting them go and then making a big purchase for yourself is not a good look. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever treat yourself, but keep the context of when you’re making these purchases in mind.
People are paying more attention to your private life than you think.
3. You’re Investing Company Funds
When investing money into new companies, ventures, or mergers, you have to keep the company’s values in mind. While something might seem like a great opportunity, is it going to be the right thing for the integrity of the company? For your employers?
This goes for things like brand deals too. Not only does the brand you’re working with have to fit the outward-facing reputation of your company, but it needs to make those working within it feel good too. For example, if you have made it clear that LGBTQ+ people are welcome in your offices, partnering with a brand that wouldn’t match that isn’t a good fit – no matter how much money it would make you.
4. You Put Your Mental Health First
As the head of the company, it feels like you have to be “on” all the time. But all of that stress can really do a number on your mind – and your body. Being open with your team that you value taking time off work, work-life balance, and that sometimes life has to come before business will make them feel more comfortable doing the same if something happens in their lives.
And if you’re going to make that part of your company culture – make sure you offer access to mental health counselling too.
5. Admit When You Mess Up
When you’re the boss and make mistakes, it can be tempting to blame it on someone else or fix it, then act like it didn’t happen. But people will respect you for admitting that you made a mistake, taking responsibility for it, and fixing it. Not only is this a way to show that you value initiative and honesty in your company, but it will prove to those around you that they can admit to mistakes without fear.
If you want your employees to be a certain way, show them your actions. Leading by example is more powerful than any training seminar you could ever hold.
Want to Lead By Example? Here’s the Secret
We all know the difference between making the easy choice and making the right choice. People who lead by example make the right choice, even when it’s hard. To quote Frozen 2, sometimes good leadership is just doing “the next right thing”.
If you focus on the next right choice, it’ll become a habit and get easier every time.
Want to know what the next right thing is now? It’s continuing to invest in your leadership strategy – whether that’s through attending special events, investing in programs, or trying to read one of our blog posts every day. You invest in you – let us help!