September 18, 2020

Why Leaders Need to Lead by Example When Returning to Work

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As businesses reopen storefronts under what’s being termed a “new normal” and employees return to the workplace, it’s becoming increasingly evident that there have been changes. Many are requiring social distancing, masks, and taking employee temperatures daily. What hasn’t changed is the need for leaders to lead by example as everyone returns to work.

Stabilizing Morale

During times of high stress and uncertainty, it’s easy for employee morale to take a pretty serious hit. This can cause more problems for businesses who may already be struggling due to the economic impact the pandemic has had on a global scale. Fortunately, one of the things that can be done to help stabilize, or even improve, company morale is for leaders to lead by example. Employees will see leading by example as a step that brings you closer to them and their level. This builds greater feelings of connection and loyalty within a company, which can only serve to strengthen it at a time when low morale may have a crippling impact.

Employees Look to You

Employees look to their leaders for cues on how to behave. This means that as you lead by example you will help them understand what behaviors are acceptable and encouraged, and, by omission, what behaviors are unacceptable and should be avoided. For example, if you’re using floor markings to help with social distancing they should be six feet apart at a minimum. And you should be respecting those markings so that your employees know that they should be doing the same. It’s a lot of responsibility, but that’s why you’re the leader. Hopefully you’ve been prepared to take that responsibility for a while, because while the context may have altered, the responsibility has always been there.

Creating Consistency

Because employees look to you as their leader for guidance, you can create consistency in your business by leading by example as everyone returns to work. The new rules, policies, and procedures need to apply to business leaders just as much as they do to entry level employees. If your company has decided that everyone needs to wear masks to work, take their temperature daily, and stay home when ill, so do you. This consistency is what makes policies effective, as they will only really work as long as everyone abides by them.

Leaders are chosen for a reason, and hopefully part of the reasoning is because they are good at leading employees. One of the best ways to do this is by leading by example. Leading by example can help stabilize employee morale, making employees feel better about being led by you, and creating consistency within the company.

For more tips, schedule some coaching sessions with me so I can help your business succeed!

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