Lead by Example
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines ‘lead by example’ as: “to act in a way that shows others how to act.
Your team will naturally look to you as a leader for an example of organizational culture, ethics, and practice. The way that you behave sets a tone and a standard that others will often consciously or unconsciously emulate to different degrees.
Here are some of the aspects of your conduct that you might want to consider in terms of what example you set for your team, and to approach mindfully with an awareness that you are setting an example:
- Communication – this includes the manner, tone, frequency, and message content of your delivery with other team members. It is also important to think about which channel or method of communication is appropriate to use to get your message across.
- Punctuality – do you show up on time, or at all, for key meetings and do you deliver work or information when you say you will.
- Respect and Inclusion – your team will look to you to set the standard for respect and inclusion with all team members and make sure that all voices are heard equally and a safe, healthy work environment prevails.
- Boundaries and Work/Life Balance – just as you will set the standard for diligence and motivation, you can easily establish a culture of overwork or burnout if you neglect your own work/life balance and boundaries. Others may feel the same is expected of them, and ultimately a burned-out workforce means the whole organization will suffer.
- Care for Others – as well as being mindful of the example you set with caring for your own wellbeing, showing active care and concern for the wellbeing of others on the team sets a tone that everyone can follow.
- Transparency and Accountability – transparency in decision making, strategy, vision and other key areas of the business creates trust among your team. As a virtual team leader, you must take responsibility for mistakes and foster a culture of organizational learning and non-punitive proactive problem-solving.
- Consistency – acting and communicating in a consistent manner over time will help you to win the trust and respect of your team, as well as setting an example for their own behavior.
- Curiosity – leading with curiosity rather than judgement will set a respectful, learning and growth-oriented tone for others to follow.
- Setting Realistic Expectations – when you set realistic expectations for your team, they are more likely to thrive and feel motivated in their works. This is also a way for your to model realistic goal-setting which can result in more accurate forecasts and better productivity overall.