Being able to inspire and direct your employees is important, however, it’s even more important to ensure that you know what you should be doing. When trying to set a good example for your employees, it comes down to your actions and methods. Are you working too much? Then your staff may do the same and get burned out. Are you always down on yourself? Then your employees may follow suit and consequently be unhappy at your company.

To help you find out more, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some of the essential practices business leaders should adopt when seeking to set a good example for employees. Here is what they advise:

1. Model What You Want to See

I try to be someone who leads from the front by modeling the behavior that I want to see at Lunya. For me, some of the small gestures are some of the most important—I have built most of the IKEA desks at our office. I do this because as a small company I think a willingness to do what’s needed, no matter how small or trivial, is important. I also try to give people opportunities to give me feedback. I remember in my prior job how tough feedback felt. No one likes to hear what they’re failing at. So, I try to create opportunities with retrospectives, in one-on-one meetings and with company satisfaction polls for people to be constructively critical. My hope is that I will demonstrate that I’m willing to submit to uncomfortable information and will use that to improve, just as I expect of them. – Ashley Merrill, Lunya

2. Make Communication a Priority

Remember to communicate well. It sounds obvious, but clear, effective communication is often sacrificed in the rush to make decisions and get things done. When I neglect to communicate with team leaders about key developments or decisions or they neglect to communicate with each other, confusion and a sense of exclusion are two of the most common consequences. If a team leader feels left out, insecurity and a diminishing level of investment can result and that can be contagious. We make time for quick updates and sharing sessions. We don’t discuss problems and troubleshoot and we don’t measure progress toward deliverables and KPIs. The sessions aren’t meant to put pressure on anyone, they’re just meant to inform and keep everyone on the same page. It keeps your team engaged. – Nitin Bindlish, Mom’s Belief

3. Show Vulnerability And Admit Mistakes

Successful business leaders can set an example for his or her employees by showing vulnerability. Showing vulnerability doesn’t necessarily mean showing weakness—it means showing an openness for feedback and a willingness to admit mistakes. While it may initially be awkward as a leader to show vulnerability, it will eventually make the team stronger because it opens lines of communication and dialogue. By setting this example, employees learn that it’s OK to be honest about what they like, what they can’t handle and what great ideas they’d like to share. Additionally, showing vulnerability helps you understand people better, which is the key to business, especially in the world of social media. If you show people who you are, you will build deeper bonds of loyalty and teamwork. – Shu Saito, Fact Retriever


4. Always Keep Your Word

To earn respect and admiration of others, you need to earn credibility with yourself first. In other words, just do what you said you were going to do at all times. If you always back up your words with action, you automatically get the grounds to expect the same from your team. This rule is very simple but it incorporates lots of different things. For example, if you know that you will keep your word no matter what, you’ll think twice before giving it in the first place. So, it’s not only about responsibility and discipline. It’s also about cultivating trust and fostering a healthy attitude to work within the team. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

5. Maintain Work-Life Balance

If you want your employees to be in it for the long haul, productive and happy in their positions, as well as physically and mentally healthy, then you need to set a good example by maintaining a work-life balance. Maintaining work-life balance is so important to a company. When your employees have a good work-life balance, they’ll be more successful in all areas of their lives. So, don’t pressure them to stay at the office late into the evening in order to complete major tasks, show them it’s OK to wait until tomorrow. Your employees will appreciate that you care about their well-being, not just about work and the numbers. Consider setting a good example for work-life balance by letting your employees off early every other Friday, for instance. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Have A People-Centric Approach

It is people that make your business what it is, not the projects and the products. A people-centric approach is a must for fostering healthy company culture. Listen to your team. Actively seek out feedback and ideas. Adopting a people-first approach ensures that every employee feels valued. Permeating this throughout the different levels within your organization ensures that you lead by example for all the employees who automatically would follow your suit. If the core company values emanate from you, ensuring a healthy working environment becomes a lot easier. Model your behavior to show what you expect of your workers. Want punctuality? Arrive on time. Want a culture of openness and clarity? Initiate conversations. Want a people-centric workplace? Focus on your employees’ needs first. – Rahul Varshneya, ResumeSeed

7. Always Take Time To Explain

Knowledge is power, and it is the source and foundation of any employee’s confidence in their skills. While there are certain pieces of information that only key people in the company should be privy to, employees deserve to know those details that will have a direct impact on them and their respective jobs. They need to understand why some decisions have been made and to have enough information so that they can prepare themselves for any major change happening. Practicing transparency builds trust between leaders and employees and gives the reassurance that leaders do think about employees’ well-being. At the same time, employees learn how leaders make their decisions. This culture of transparency also promotes accountability and open communication. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

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8. Provide Guidance And Solutions

While some managers only suggest processes for employees to follow in addressing problems, the best leaders make time to step in and provide both guidance and solutions when their employees encounter major roadblocks. This provides staff members with reassurance that you’re all working toward the same goals and it inspires others to help their colleagues overcome challenging situations. As a result, you foster more of a collaborative environment than a competitive one. Even the best employees need a bit of help sometimes, so make sure to regularly extend support to different departments to facilitate their long-term success. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

9. Set Expectations For Yourself And Make Them Known

I set quarterly expectations for my team and myself. During our weekly meetings, when we are looking at everyone’s progress, I make sure to include my own goals and progress towards the tasks I assigned. I think that this shows that we are willing to get down in the dirt, so to speak, and work alongside our employees. When you hold yourself to the same standards that you hold to others, you’ll find that employees are much more like to be successful and follow through on their goals. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

10. Offer Your Help

When you want to be a positive role model for your staff, try asking periodically if there is anything you can do to help throughout the work week. If you work with a remote team, they may be reluctant to ask for help until you offer. If you’re employing people in a physical office, walking around and talking to your employees while asking if there is anything you can personally do to help them will put their minds at ease. An added benefit of staying helpful is it will encourage those employees to want to help others. Teamwork is the backbone of every successful business, and I believe in putting myself with the rest of my staff so we can accomplish great things together. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

11. Show Your Appreciation

It sounds simple at first, right? Most business owners like to show their employees that they value and appreciate them. However, when you are actively looking for ways to appreciate your staff and everything they do for your customers and business, you’ll find that this boosts overall morale throughout the company. There are various ways you can show your appreciation to your staff. For example, you could have a weekly meeting where employees can show their appreciation to their coworkers. Make sure you include yourself in this meeting and praise your staff when they go above and beyond. – David Henzel, LTVPlus

12. Prioritize What’s Important

For a CEO, it is difficult to organize the numerous important items thrown at you on a daily basis. The key thing to show employees is that it’s not about checking things off quickly, it’s about doing what matters well. You need to make sure to carve out time for items that drive enterprise value. It’s also important to prioritize things that are time-sensitive, sometimes sending an email that day versus the next day can make a big difference in the momentum of a conversation. It’s also good to show that it’s OK not to get back to people right away when it’s not important. A fast-growing company is going to receive a lot of inbound interest, but if it’s not a priority don’t rush to respond and don’t be afraid to say you’re not interested. Time is too valuable to waste. – Carlo Cisco, SELECT

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13. Always Be Transparent

It’s not wise to hide things from your team or remain sketchy about things going on in your business or industry that could end up affecting them. The best policy in these scenarios is to be transparent with your team and avoid being dishonest about anything happening with your brand. Sooner or later they’ll find out whatever it was you were trying to hide in the first place and it makes you look like you don’t trust them. If you don’t, why are they on your team in the first place? It sets a good example when you openly communicate and are upfront with team members because it encourages them to do the same with you. If anything were to go on behind the scenes and you weren’t aware, wouldn’t you want people to be transparent with you? Practice this and it’ll produce positive results. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

14. Stay Calm In The Chaos

Work life can get extremely stressful with all the deadlines to meet, people to see and tasks to accomplish. You have to deal with several people under you who you’re in charge of and if things don’t go as planned, it’s all on you. However, one of the best habits you can provide for your team is to stay calm during times of chaos. Every business goes through chaotic moments where things are all over the place and people are stressed out. If you, as their leader, can act calm and level-headed during these times, it’ll set the tone for the entire workplace and employees will feel more at ease and able to get their work done efficiently. Just your attitude can greatly impact the quality of work being submitted. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

15. Practice Positive Self-Talk

We tend to talk ourselves down a lot, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s essential that you know how to remain positive because being in business isn’t just about making money and being your own boss. It gets extremely tough at times. If you aren’t able to remain positive, things will be exponentially harder for you. Adopt the practice of positive self-talk and it’ll have a tremendous effect on your employees. The more positivity you spread throughout your company, the happier your employees will be and the better the quality work they’ll put out. But, it starts with you. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

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