Whether you manage 2 or 200 people, you lead first by example. Realise that if you lead others, it’s show time all the time. Everything you do and say contributes to how others will act. If your people consistently do something to concern you, be it turning up late to meetings or passing the buck, maybe they are copying someone’s example. Pay close attention to the example you and others in positions of authority set.

Here are three tips to help you with your leadership development:

1. Be consistent.

It’s all too easy to say one thing and do another. But if you really want all your people singing from the same song sheet you need to write the music and be the first to sing it.

Take Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea and world’s fourth richest person. Instilling a low cost culture was critical to his success. When invited to unveil a statue of himself in the tiny Swedish town where the first Ikea store opened in 1953, he declined to cut the ribbon. Instead he carefully rolled it up and handed it back to the mayor, saying, “Now you can use this ribbon again.”

Before you can set an example for your people, you need to know what example you want to set. Draw up a list of core characteristics you want in your culture and walk the talk! Make sure these characteristics are included in any leadership training you do with your people.

2. What you hand out you get back.

Business is a boomerang. Whatever you say or do will come back sooner or later. The old adage treat others as you would wish to be treated is hugely important.

Allan Leighton, former Chairman, Royal Mail says “In this country we think respect is something you earn. That’s nonsense, respect is something you give”.

The way you treat your people, even in the most insignificant moments, will be seen as proof or otherwise of your leadership ability.

3. Motivate yourself.

Every time you come into contact with a member of your team some of your attitude will rub-off on them. If you’re feeling flat or uninspired, this will cause them to feel likewise.

To lead by example never underestimate the importance of how you communicate with yourself. If the voice in your head is telling you that an obstacle is ‘insurmountable’ or market conditions are ‘unfavourable’ then this will come across to others.

Monitor your self-talk and make it as positive as possible. Develop a ‘can-do’ attitude in yourself as the best way to inspire this in others.

Learn more about LDL leadership training and management courses.

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