As a business owner and manager of people, you have a lot of pressure to make things happen. You rely heavily on those under you to help shoulder the burden, but what do you do when you aren’t getting adequate results from your employees?
The first place to look for answers is your leadership style. Do you lead by dictation, or by example? If your employees don’t see you walking the same walk that you are talking, they will not take you seriously.
A great leader inspires loyalty and performance. Employees want to know that you are willing to get down in the trenches with them, when necessary, to take care of business. Here are some tactics to consider to help you lead by example:
- Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of those under you. Never blame. Even if you aren’t at fault, you are. As the business owner, everything that happens with your business is ultimately your responsibility.
- Look for solutions, not excuses. Real leaders recognize that things will go wrong…often. Your example in handling problems will go a long way toward inspiring others to be problem solvers as well.
- Tackle problems head-on. When an issue arises, don’t run and hide. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Your employees will be inspired to tackle problems themselves if they know you are willing to pitch in and help.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and always follow through with promises you make. Strong leadership requires trust of those under you. They can’t trust you if they don’t know you are true to your word.
- Value people more than profits. This is tricky, because your business cannot survive without profits. However, people are the reason we build businesses in the first place. The profits are for ourselves, for our families, and for our employees. Show them you value them and make decisions based them, not just money.
- Promote collaboration among your employees. Set an example by showing them how important it is to work together and to rely on each other for success.
- Reward success, but don’t punish failure. Employees respond well when they know they are appreciated for their achievements, but they also perform better when they know they are safe to make mistakes. While some mistakes are inexcusable, most mistakes are simply learning opportunities.
- Delegate responsibilities. Leading by example involves trusting others to do important tasks. Employees will never learn to excel if they are not allowed to grow and learn new things.
When developing leaders through example, consider this quote by John Maxwell: “The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”