The Three Main Jobs of a Leader (part 2 of 3)

Managing Self

By Tom Davidson

As a leader, you will need to be just that! A leader, not only as the one in charge, but by setting a good example and being a role model. See why, below!

Everyone is a leader in one sense or another, but only one person is responsible for the leadership of your team, and that’s you. So this blog series is about the three functions that only you can do as the leader of your team.

1. Communicating the vision – Painting a clear and compelling picture of what your unit will look like in the future
2. Role-modeling what you want from others – Exemplifying the demeanor and behaviors you want to see in others
3. Coaching the team and individuals – Maximizing the discretionary effort of the people on your team

Role-modeling what you want from others
There’s an old expression that makes this point. “The fish stinks from the head down,” which is an allusion to the fact that poorly run organizations are a reflection of top leadership. Conversely, well-run organizations and teams are also a direct reflection of their leader.

It’s unnerving how much impact one leader can have on the behaviors, performance and culture of their work team. So much so that the example you set is the single most important factor in how others will behave.

• If you want better teamwork, then you and your leadership team better be good team players yourselves.
• If you want more creativity, then you’ll have to lead the way by being more innovative and risk taking yourself.
• If you want safety and housekeeping to be a priority, then you better get your hands dirty cleaning up the mess nearest to you.
• If you want people to be more frugal, then you better suck it up and lead the way yourself.
• If you want people to learn and develop new skills, sign up for some training, make some mistakes and demonstrate what an active learner really looks like.

While this may be the most important factor influencing how others will behave, it’s not the only factor that will make a difference. You will still need to train, coach, counsel and mentor people to be their best (the subject of the next blog in this series).

But if you don’t lead by example, the rest will be like flea dipping, sending people away to iron out all their flaws only to have them come back to the same old workplace to get the same old fleas back on them because you didn’t change your behaviors first.

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