A lot has been said about leadership and how a leader should lead their team. However, if you’re looking for a single piece of advice, here it is: lead by example. Ken Kesey, a famous novelist said it best, “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
John Maxwell, author and speaker, also made the same point about leadership when he said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” In fact, if you take a look at history, you will find that almost every great leader had a habit of leading by example.
The question now is, how do you lead by example and what does it entail? This article will show you how.
1) Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion
Empathy and compassion are two of the greatest qualities that a leader must possess, especially when it comes to industries or businesses that deal in sensitive areas of life. As a healthcare leader, it is vital to actively demonstrate empathy and compassion when caring for patients, and when communicating with patients, colleagues, families, and other leaders. Your actions must show that you genuinely care for other people.
Imagine a workplace where everyone actively listens to one another and treats each other with care and respect. A place where people prioritize the well-being of their team members and work collaboratively to solve problems. Sound like a dream? It doesn’t have to be. By taking the initiative to lead with compassion, you can inspire those around you to do the same. And the best part? This positive culture can spread like wildfire, affecting everyone in the organization. So start today by setting an example of active listening, understanding, and respect, and watch as your actions create a ripple effect of positivity and productivity in the workplace. That’s how effective leading by example can be.
2) Foster Open Communication
Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where the other person just isn’t listening? Or where you can’t quite get your point across? It’s frustrating and can often lead to misunderstandings. That’s why communication is such a crucial aspect of human relationships. When we express ourselves clearly and truly listen to one another, we are able to forge connections and understand each other on a deeper level. And for leaders, this becomes even more important. A team that communicates effectively is one that is able to collaborate and work towards a common goal.
As a healthcare leader, you need to ensure that you create an environment where your team members feel safe and comfortable expressing their concerns, challenges, feedback, and ideas. As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one,” but what if those two heads turned into three, four, five, or even more? The power of collective thinking is immense, and the potential solutions that can be generated are limitless. Who knows what idea lies in the depths of someone’s mind that could solve a challenge faced by a group of individuals? Never underestimate the value of collaboration and the power of ideas. You truly may never know who might hold the key to unlocking a solution to a problem you didn’t even know could be solved.
Additionally, when you conduct regular team meetings, take stock of how your team members are feeling, listen to feedback, address concerns quickly, share relevant information in a timely manner, and remain accessible at all levels—this inspires your team members to communicate the same way.
3) Embrace a Growth Mindset to Lead by Example
A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can be developed through practice, dedication, and effort. It is a belief that you can constantly improve yourself and solve any challenge that comes your way. This is an important quality for not only leaders but every single person working at an organization.
As a leader, you have the responsibility to instill this quality in your team members. And you can do that by instilling it in yourself first. When you cultivate a mindset focused on learning, innovation, and self-improvement, you set an example for your team to follow. By showing that you’re willing to learn new skills and overcome your own weaknesses, you demonstrate that growth and development are not only possible, but essential for success. As your team sees you embracing this mindset, you inspire your team to do the same. This leads to a more innovative, adaptive, and driven organization. So why not take the first step towards building a growth-focused team today? By doing so, you encourage your team to pursue professional development and consistently upgrade their skills. Take the initiative and offer your team the training programs and resources they need to unlock their full potential.
4) Practice Work-Life Balance
As we navigate the demands of work and personal responsibilities, it can be easy to forget that success is not just about work. Great leaders understand the importance of finding that work-life balance that keeps us healthy and happy, both professionally and personally. Taking care of yourself is the first step in ensuring that you can provide the best support possible to your team members. By advocating for healthy boundaries, being transparent about taking breaks, and promoting self-care, you can set the tone for a positive work culture. Remember, success is not just about achievements at work, but also about how you enjoy and lead your life outside of it.
You can also encourage your team to use their vacation time, take breaks during shifts, and find time for activities that promote well-being outside of work. You can also promote policies that support the work-life balance of your team members like flexible shifts, resources for stress management, paid leave, access to employee assistance programs, and so on.
5) Promote Collaboration and Teamwork
There is no team without collaboration and teamwork. And there is no use of a leader without people to inspire and support. Creating a positive and uplifting work environment where all team members are excited to collaborate can seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one. One way to achieve this is by promoting interdisciplinary communication within the workplace. When team members can communicate openly and freely across departments, it encourages broader collaboration and fosters a sense of togetherness that permeates the entirety of the organization. This goes hand in hand with prioritizing shared decision-making, as it ensures that all voices are heard and that everyone feels valued and appreciated. By creating a culture of mutual respect and inclusion, you’ll be well on your way to establishing an environment where team members look forward to coming to work every day.
Teamwork truly makes the dream work, and there are plenty of ways to make sure that your team is working cohesively towards shared goals. One excellent strategy is to organize regular team meetings and huddles, where everyone can come together to discuss progress and brainstorm new ideas. But why stop there? Why not plan weekend retreats to really bond as a group, or incorporate fun activities and games into your work routine? When you prioritize team-building exercises and information sharing, you create an environment where everyone is inspired to do their best work and support one another. So, get creative and start cultivating a workplace culture that fosters collaboration and cooperation.
The Importance of Leading by Example
Being a leader isn’t about having a fancy title or corner office. It’s about rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty, setting an example for others to follow. True leadership isn’t about giving orders and expecting your team to carry them out without question. It’s about taking initiative, remaining calm under pressure, offering solutions instead of stewing on problems, and inspiring others to do their very best. Leaders who truly lead are the ones who are willing to put in the hard work, build relationships with their team, and earn their trust and respect. So if you’ve been given the opportunity to lead, don’t waste it. Embrace the challenge, take ownership of your responsibilities, and show the world what true leadership really looks like.