Lead by Example

By McKenzie Schwark
Lead by Example

There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about major changes coming for work culture. Many employees are looking to their managers to make work more accessible, and to better meet their needs to keep them for the long term. So, how does one lead effectively in the modern workplace? As a manager, you must be adaptive as things change seemingly overnight. But one way to be a more effective manager in these changing times, no matter what changes get thrown at you, is to lead by example. Here are some ways you can set an example for your employees to create a more effective workplace.

1. Set work boundaries

We have heard a lot about work-life balance, or work-life integration, lately – especially as more and more workers have transitioned to a hybrid work-from-home model. The lines between work and life outside of work have become increasingly blurred when we take the office home with us, whether literally or in little ways like having our work email on our phones. One of the best ways you can lead by example is by setting work boundaries for yourself (and actually sticking to them!). That might mean logging out at 5:00 pm, turning off your work phone on the weekends, or even just taking a full one-hour lunch break each day.

2. Take (real!) breaks

And we mean a real lunch break, not an eat-a-sandwich-while-hunched-over-your-inbox lunch break. Workdays can get long and tedious, and studies have shown that stepping away from your screens and getting some time to yourself in the middle of the day can improve productivity and mental health and prevent burnout.

3. Attitude matters

No one performs well when the boss is upset! Everyone has their off days, but coming in with a positive attitude can set the tone for your entire team. Being positive and energetic creates a butterfly effect – and ultimately makes for a happier and more productive team. Your team will certainly thank you!

4. Be visible and accessible

Even if you have a separate office, it’s important to work alongside your team, or pop in from time to time. This helps eliminate any resentful feelings of inferiority and shows your team you are a team player and will be there for them when they need it. By making yourself more accessible, you’re sure to have a more intimate knowledge of any problems or challenges your team faces and can address them in real time. This helps create a more open work culture and opens the line of communication both ways.

5. Take advantage of professional development

If you expect your team members to take advantage of workshops or professional development opportunities, you should do the same. By attending classes or presentations, you’re showing your team how important they are, and can report back on the positive outcomes or takeaways that you get.

There are a lot of ways to be an effective leader, but one of the most important is to show up for your team the way you want them to show up for you. Leading by example is a great way to model and create effective change in the workplace.