Leading by example basically means role modeling expected behaviors, in everything you do. It means being in an ‘on stage’ frame of mind at all times.
The Highly Successful Retail Managers (HSRM) is always aware of the fact that his or her appearance, demeanor, behavior and actions are seen and carefully scrutinized by subordinates.
The HSRM is the most important example for subordinates when it comes to their own conduct.
That is not to say that every employee will follow the role model, but only that if the role model is deficient in any way, it is very likely to have negative consequences.
Show what you can do:
HSRM’s are masters of their universe! Whatever it is they are asking subordinates to do, they can do too. And, usually, very well.
HSRM’s don’t hesitate to demonstrate those skills from time to time to stay sharp and to remind employees that they possess the skills.
Make your priorities clear:
As maximizing revenue and profits are what the HSRM strives for, it makes sense that the one of the Golden Rules for leading by example is to hold these things in the top priority position – during every conversation, in every meeting – the HSRM talks sales first, probably expenses second.
And then whatever else is next in priority at that particular time. What is not subject to change is the priority position of sales (or revenue).
It should not be necessary to point out the need for maximizing revenue and minimizing expenses in order to be profitable.
But you would be surprised at the number of people who see things differently. They are wrong.
Without profitability, a company cannot continue to serve customers, cannot continue to employee people; simply cannot continue to exist.
So, whenever you hear people talking about other things that are really important to the business, you can certainly agree that there are, indeed, many other things important to the business, as long as that business exists.
And we all know what is necessary to ensure the business exists – maximizing revenue and profits.
To lead by example you must demonstrate your understanding of this at every turn. That is how your employees are going to learn what is most important.
You will not find an HSRM complaining to his team about something or other that head office decided on. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, the HSRM has a duty to protect the reputation of head office employees.
Second, to complain about anything would be showing a negative attitude and would defeat the very purpose of leading by example, regardless of what the subject is.
Dress for success:
HSRM’s always dress for success. They never allow themselves to be at a disadvantage as far as dress and grooming is concerned.
They overdress rather than risk being under dressed. They are impeccably clean; clothes pressed; shoes shined, etc.
Personal hygiene and grooming are of utmost importance.
Demonstrate a strong work ethic:
HSRM’s take pride in their strong work ethic. They will work harder than most and they will do many things that others will not.
The HSRMs are the ones that do the innovative things and the tough things and take it all in stride as part of their work day.
HSRM’s believe in working very hard, as well as working smart. They show their dedication and commitment to the company they work for.
They do not take advantage of their position to obtain any perks or benefits that are outside of the acceptable range that the company has stipulated.
They are punctual and reliable. They can be counted on to look out for the best interests of the company in everything they do.
HSRM’s expect their employees to demonstrate a strong work ethic also.
Behave appropriately and show respect for others:
In all of their dealings with customers and employees – both superiors and subordinates – HSRM’s behave appropriately; with honesty, integrity, respect and consideration.
Set high standards:
HSRM’s know that, if they demand a certain standard from those who work with them, then they must meet, and exceed, that standard themselves. And they do.
Keep socializing with staff to a minimum:
It is appropriate, in this section, to address one issue that many leaders wrestle with – socializing with subordinates.
It’s a touchy issue and not all companies make rules to govern oneself by in this area.
HSRM’s keep socializing with staff to an absolute minimum – just enough so that they are considered part of the team but never enough to be seen as one of the guys or girls.
When you do socialize with your team you must be on guard. If you think that would be uncomfortable you are right – and that’s how it has to be.
The damage that can be done by managers who socialize with their teams, too much, is incalculable.
Leading by example is critical to the HSRM’s success. They want people to behave in a particular way, and they behave that way themselves.
In fact, leading by example comes naturally to HSRM’s in most cases.
If, in rare instances, they see that there are areas where their example may be lacking – they are quick to make adjustments.
There is no room for ‘do as I say and not as I do’ when you are dealing with your subordinates.