The first thought for me on this subject takes me back to my childhood days when my parents would tell me ‘do as I say not as I do.’ Not exactly the best parenting approach, but it shows that people realize they are doing something they don’t want their children to copy.
“Leading by Example” applies to multiple aspects of our lives, from how we dress, to how we work, to how we socialize, to how we worship. People are more easily influenced at a younger age by what they see as their personality and character develops than older people who usually are looking for a reason to do less. As we age, we are much more willing to follow someone’s example where we perceive it to be less than we are doing now. It takes a longer time to increase a level of behavior.
I’ve tried to follow the Lead by Example behavior as I’ve grown through the company. As a young or new manager, you have no credibility. There is no better way to build trust and credibility than getting out there and working alongside your fellow employees. Let them see you get dirty and how you would perform the same tasks as them. Change the ‘do as I say to do as I do.’ One thing to be careful of is doing too much. You need to show them that you are willing and capable of doing the task, but don’t let it become your job. If you don’t allow them to do, then they will not learn the behavior.
When I was in a manufacturing plant, I also worked on improvement projects, and one of the simplest actions that gets the most attention by your employees is sweeping the floor. For some reason, the workforce doesn’t believe that a plant manager would sweep the floor. I have the opinion that if you made the mess, you should clean it up. Another simple example of Leading by Example.
Leading by Example is a full time job (24/7/365) , not just when you want to. You are always influencing someone by your actions.
Senior Operations Manager –
Production and Scheduling
YKK (U.S.A.) INC.