10 Things Bosses Need to Do to Set the Right Example to Their Team

August 7, 2017

Bosses have a tremendous amount of influence over their teams. Hence, it's important they set the right example.

Any boss, whether they realize it or not, has a tremendous amount of influence over their employees. How they act directly affects how their employees act, as they set the example for the rest of their team.

Hence, bosses need to be mindful of what they say and what they do in the office. For example, if a boss gossips in the office, their team is likely to start gossiping. Or, if a boss cuts corners to reach their goals, their team will likely start cutting corners as well.

Those are two ways bosses can set a bad example. But what are the things a boss can do to set a good example?

Well, here are ten:

1. Being punctual.

This means the boss shows up to meetings on time and ends meetings on time. A little thing that makes a big difference, as it'll inspire (most) of their team to be punctual as well.

2. Giving a person their full attention when they are talking.

First off, if a manager doesn’t give someone his or her full attention when that person is talking, it sends the message that the person is unimportant. And that’s a morale-destroyer for an employee, to think their boss doesn’t really care.

But, more than that, when a boss gives their people their full attention when they are talking, it encourages others to do the same. This helps create a culture of respect and makes communication far more effective.

3. Following through on their commitments.

Nothing frustrates a boss more than if one of their employees doesn’t complete their work on time. And yet, that’s exactly what a boss will attract if they themselves don't complete their work on time.

For bosses, this means responding to people and making decisions in a reasonable timeframe. When a boss does this, it makes their team run smoothly and reinforces that reliability is valued.

4. Being professional.

If a boss says things that aren’t appropriate for work or gossips, some team members will likely follow suit to fit in. Others are likely to become uncomfortable and look for work elsewhere.

Neither of these are good outcomes. A boss needs to be particularly mindful of what they are saying around their team, as their topics of conversation will define their employees' topics of conversation.

5. Having fun.

Just because you are professional doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Happy teams are more productive and stick around longer than unhappy teams. Bosses should facilitate that.

By being a bit less serious and spending some time each day socializing, a boss communicates to their team that, yes, they can have fun at work.

6. Maintaining a work-life balance.

A biggie. If you are, as a boss, working until 9 each night, it doesn’t just affect you. No matter what you say to your employees, if a boss is working that many hours their employees will lose all sense of a work-life balance themselves.

Same goes for email. If a boss consistently sends late or weekend emails demanding action, their employees are going to be on their email all the time. This is just going to lead to burnout and a less effective team.

Most of the time, when a boss is working this much, it’s a sign they are either not delegating enough or working hard, instead of smart. By taking a step back and prioritizing what’s important, the boss is likely to become more effective while also empowering their team to have more of a work-life balance.

7. Holding productive meetings.

Many employees see meetings as a place where productivity goes to die. But that attitude can change if a boss has meetings focused on action where there are clear action items that come out of each one, which people actually complete.

This does two things. First off, people will be happier as meetings will go from being seen as a waste of time to a place where important decisions are made and strategies are finalized.

Secondly, it’ll actually lead to less meetings, as people will only hold a meeting when it’s productive to do so. This alone can make your employees far more efficient.

8. Acknowledging failures.

A great boss should recognize their employee’s wins. But a great boss should also admit when they've failed and what they learned from it.

Why? The research shows the highest performing organizations embrace failure, as opposed to running from it. By personally embracing failure, a boss encourages their employees to take more intelligent risks and stretch themselves to learn new skills.

9. Prioritizing learning and development.

One of the main jobs of a boss is to develop their employees. But are you, as the boss, actively working to develop yourself? What have you been getting better at?

You set the example to your team. Only by working to improve yourself will your team improve as well.

10. Acting with integrity.

The most important one. A boss who doesn’t act with integrity will create a team that doesn’t act with integrity, which is unacceptable.

Sure, sometimes acting with integrity is hard; it might even hurt in the short-term. But it’s the only path to long-term success.  

*Image from Kumweni, Flickr

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