Lead by Example and Your Employees Will Do the Same

A great company culture can mean the difference between success and failure for your company. You want a culture that inspires, encourages and motivates your team. But, a great company culture doesn’t happen because your values are posted on your website or in a frame hanging on the office wall.  Values aren’t about lip-service.  They are about action.  Action not of just one person. It takes the entire leadership team to actively work towards the culture you are striving for. Your culture will develop by doing living the values together.

As a leader in your company, you can demonstrate your ideal culture through your actions. Lead by example so your team will be on the same page, working for the same goals, with the same aspirations and ideals. Embody what you want your team to be. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, does a great job of keeping his employees on the same page with his 14 leadership principles. Bezos is a very to-the-point CEO who follows these principles in his decision-making. They are a key reason he has been able to build a passionate and driven team that has led Amazon to be one of the country’s most successful businesses.

So, how do you get your employees all on the same page? Lead by example with these five tips.

1. State a clear mission upfront for your team to strive towards.

If there is a goal that every member of the team works toward collectively, the team will naturally become closer. People will think of themselves as a collective unit versus each individual. The culture created from this mission will drive your team to success. Having team-wide, or even company-wide goals will help turn your company vision into action.

2. Set goals each month, or even each week, and those who meet them get recognized.

While working towards a mutual goal is productive, setting smaller monthly or even weekly goals will help your team take the right steps towards meeting the larger goal. These goals focus on each individual, which will prove their potential and the value they add to the team. It also motivates each team member to work harder and push his or her colleagues to be better. According to Inc.com, a survey of small business owners by Staples found that more than 80% don’t track their business goals. Of that 80%, about 77% of those leaders have not achieved their company vision either. So, setting goals can really make or break your team. Reward those that meet their goals.

3. Watch what you say and listen to your team.

These go hand in hand for leaders. If you’re using curse words in the office, you can guarantee your staff will begin to feel comfortable using those words as well. When you take a two hour lunch break each day, your staff will recognize that and do the same. Is this the type of environment you’re striving for? If you are constantly making negative comments and disregarding your team’s input, you won’t be respected in the way you want to be. In fact, you probably won’t be respected at all. Most likely your team will be unhappy, which won’t bring in the achievements that you want. Listen to your team and use their input. Just because you lead the team doesn’t mean your opinion is the only one that matters.

4. Be consistent and persistent.

Stay true to your ideals while striving to be better. Show your team that you don’t have to change the way you do business or go against your morals to be successful. Make sure you remain consistent between team members. No team member is better than another and each deserves the same amount of attention. Being persistent will also help your team be better. If they always see you working hard, they will work just as hard to prove to you how valuable they are for the company.

5. Get excited! Even about the littlest of things.

Whether a team member found a future prospect or sealed a deal, celebrate their success! Your team works hard – don’t let the little things go unnoticed. Offer incentives like Starbucks cards to those that achieve their periodic goals. Create an employee of the month program that calls out a team member for something they did that goes along with your values.  Even posting a simple post-it note to their computer screen saying “Great job!” can keep their morale high. You want each member to know how much you value their efforts and their importance to the team.

Leadership sets the tone in every business. A positive company culture is worth putting in the extra effort, even when you feel like you have no time and are bogged down with work… Just take a moment to recognize achievements large and small.  As a leader, you have a responsibility to inspire and motivate your team. This isn’t something that will happen over night, but will take time and the right amount of effort. The company culture really starts with you, so lead by example and watch the positive change that will enfold.