There’s an old saying that the difference between the manager and a leader is that “managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” As a business owner and a leader, you set the standards for your employees. You alone are responsible for providing guidance to each and every subordinate and the establishment of your company’s ethical standards, as well as quality, service and morale, ultimately falls on your shoulders. Part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves to do better and, in doing so, they push the company itself to do better. To do this, you must show them the way by leading by example. When you do, you gain the respect and loyalty of your employees. Here are some of the ways a good business owner leads by example.
Practice what you preach
Employees recreate the behaviors they witness. An owner that wants to reduce unnecessary expenses yet spends a fortune of the company’s money chartering a plane or reserving the most luxurious, expensive accommodations for their next business trip will not inspire cost-cutting measures from other employees. Likewise, a manager who wants to encourage punctuality but comes in late every day will likely not have the support of their subordinates. To enforce any policy, you must also abide by the same rules. When you do, your employees will respect you and follow the policies as well. Everyone should work toward the same goal.
Set the tone
The leader sets the tone for the entire company. Employees who want to improve the company and their standing in it will follow the example of the leaders, from the way they dress to the hours they work. Be excited, enthusiastic, positive, and confident about your company’s goals. If you are committed to continuously improving your business and providing excellent service, so too will your employees. People like to work for managers who are accessible, observing and supportive. They also prefer to see a boss who works even harder than they do themselves.
It is your responsibility to charge your company’s atmosphere with positive energy. Your attitudes and behaviors rub off, so make a conscious effort to always be a good role model. Remember, this energy influences your employees and makes an impression on your customers as well. When you have a bad day, don’t let your mood affect how you treat your team. The last thing you want is for your employees to lose confidence in the company and become afraid of losing their jobs. Keep your chin up, even during the worst of months, and instead create a positive working environment.
Your mood is contagious. It is so much easier to keep employees happy with a positive work environment and enjoy a lower turnover than it is to constantly have to hire and train new staff. Provide constructive criticism along with guidance to help your employees achieve their full potential. When everyone is performing at their best, everyone in the company wins.
Don’t try to do it alone
You cannot be everywhere at once, so stop trying to be. You can only control so much and there are only so many hours in a day. Instead of trying to make your business a one-man show, delegate tasks to others. If you excel at sales but don’t have the time to keep up with your website, run marketing campaigns or handle the taxes, consider hiring help or outsourcing these tasks to firms that can assist you. Your employees will be glad to know that you trust them to keep your business running and have the wisdom to seek outside help when the in-house staff doesn’t have the experience to handle a certain task.
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