Tomorrow I will see a close friend and former boss who taught me a lot about business. One of the things he taught me was that actions speak louder that words. Rule #1: Do something.
People like to use the phrases ‘walk the walk’ and ‘leading by the example‘ but don’t provide any details on what it means. My former boss taught me three questions to use as a litmus test to see if I was really doing it:
How do you spend your time?
People notice the disconnect between what you say and what you do. If you want quality to be important, pay extra attention to spelling and formatting.
What questions do you ask?
The questions you ask signal employees about the topics you think are important. Employees won’t be interested in strategic objectives if you never talk about them.
What do you recognize and reward?
Why people are rewarded and promoted demonstrate your seriousness about a specific set of corporate principles. If you care about innovation, reward risk takers; even if they fail.
It’s a fantastic way to keep yourself on track and has served me well my entire career. Of course, as Dilbert so eloquently points out, not all leadership by example should be commended.