Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Leading by Example


As managers and supervisors, getting the support and respect of your team members, getting the work done through them and keeping them motivated is a big challenge. You can enforce rules, read out instructions or give lectures on the way you expect your colleagues and juniors to behave. However, the best way to manage and lead is by setting an example. You can never extract good behavior by setting a bad example.

I have observed two kinds of behaviour at work. I have worked with someone who was punctual, polite and diligent. He completed all his work on time, stayed calm, highly organized and was always ready to help. When there was a problem, he focused on finding the solution rather than finding out the person to blame for the problem. He treated everyone including the lowest level of employee with respect. I have also worked with someone who was tardy, rude and indolent. She never met the deadlines, was impetuous and disorganized and rarely available for help. When a problem arose she focused on finding the person to blame rather than finding the solution. Besides the slackness in work, she was dominating and disrespectful with other staffs.

What difference does the behaviour make? Well, it is clearly a case of Professional v/s Unprofessional. If you’re behaving in a professional way then your colleagues and team members will respect you and follow you. However, if you’re behaving unprofessionally then you’ll have almost no support from your team members. Even when you make a good decision, it will be viewed with an eye of doubt. Even though your colleagues put up a smile in front of you for the sake of social convention, behind the back they will not have even a shred of respect for you. While a professional behaviour will be praised and rewarded, an unprofessional behaviour including the person who exhibits this kind of behaviour will be ridiculed and someday penalized.

As Spider Man says, “Big position demands bigger responsibilities.” It’s very easy misuse a high level position. You can order people around and make them do your work. The ones below you may follow orders out of obligation but will never be ready to help you willingly. To be a responsible person and a good manager or a supervisor also means being a good trend-setter. Example is the best advice you can give. Therefore, before you begin to enforce rules, voice out lectures or read out instructions, you need to make sure that you’re yourself setting a good example for others to follow.

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