Graci Leadership Solutions Blog

Walking the Walk: Leaders as Role Models

Sometimes, as we find ourselves caught up in the daily grind, we lose track of a simple fact: leaders, you are a role model!  Your employees look to you and judge your actions as a reflection on the entire company.  Your team follows the example that you are setting, which further builds the company’s reputation in a community.  So, today, we take the time to reflect on how leaders can not only talk the talk of being a boss, but walk the walk as an effective role model.

Attitude is Everything

Maybe we don’t talk about it enough, but acting in a leadership role is hard.  You constantly find yourself caught between your employees, co-workers, and upper management.  Keeping everyone content is a constant balancing act, and spending that much time up on the high-wire can be exhausting!  But it’s important to still keep your head up and maintain a positive outlook.  Don’t put down upper management and co-workers in front of your employees.  Remember: you are the boss.  If you spend your days plodding around your business like eyesore and claiming that the sky is due to fall any day now, your employees will respond in kind.  So if you would like to see a shift towards the positive in your workplace, start by taking a long look at your own attitude.

Maintain Positive Relationships

Along with keeping a can-do attitude thriving in your workplace, it’s important to deal with any conflicts that arise quickly, calmly, and professionally.  Say, for instance, that you find yourself clashing with another manager.  If you air your grievances publicly, it will only be a matter of time before your employees pick up on the unrest.  Soon, your team and the other manager’s team will find themselves constantly at odds.  While a little good-natured competition can be healthy, the last thing you want to do is accidentally encourage open hostilities within your business.  Take some initiative and try to foster positive workplace relationships.

Building Trust

As a leader, you want your team to trust you, and you want to be able to trust them in turn.  There is no way to build that trust without hard work, accountability, and integrity.  But in order for your employees to display these qualities, you must first model them yourself.  Work hard—pitch in when your team needs a hand and make it clear from the start that there is no assignment beneath you.  Most importantly, make sure that you do a good job at those assignments and hold yourself accountable.  Your employees will measure themselves against your example.  That is why you must conduct yourself with considerable integrity.  If you ask your team to follow a set of rules, you must also be ready to follow those rules yourself.

With a little intention, you can soon become a role model for your team.  By setting yourself up as a quality leader, you can trust your team to go above and beyond.  After all, they’ll be following your example.

John Graci is an author, consultant, and leadership adviser with more than 20 years of management experience in production, office, union and non-union environments. Connect with John to speak at you next corporate event. Graci Leadership Solutions Phone: 612-708-1939 Email:

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