A role model is a person who serves as an example by influencing others.
In business, the most important role model is the “boss.”
Employees look up to a variety of role models to help shape how they behave and, at work, that person is typically their manager or the business owner. They watch and listen and formulate a set of acceptable behaviors based on what they see and experience.
By monitoring your own behavior as a business leader, you can greatly influence your employees.
How to Be a Better Role Model
As a business leader, demonstrating positive behavior by example can be a powerful tool to your success. Here are 10 tips on modeling that will help you to get what you expect from your employees:
Set a schedule and keep it.
It does not have to be long and dreary hours, but it should be a minimum of the length you expect from most of your employees. It should also be the schedule when you are needed most.
Don’t “cherry pick” the schedule.
Sometimes being on site when you are needed most may not be as convenient as you might prefer, but everyone deserves consideration in scheduling. Do your part.
Take a rotation, not just the best schedule.
Publish the schedule and then be present when you say you will.
Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you should come and go as you please. If you have committed to a schedule, be there!
Don’t break the rules.
Policies and procedures are for everyone, no exceptions. If you have set policies on social media, technology use, approval levels, etc., you too must comply.
There are never two sets of rules.
Save personal projects for your time off.
One of the most frustrating double standards for staff members is owners that use work time for their personal agenda.
Everyone has personal obligations, appointments, exercise and wellness classes, moving the children from one place to the other, etc. Owners expect their staff members to attend to those after work hours
. . . the same should be true for owners.
Establish work hours and keep them.
Be a good self–monitor.
Monitor your behavior and your language while with staff members and customers.
It is so common today that we hardly notice it, but the quality and choice of descriptors has deteriorated to the point that it can often be offensive for some of our staff and customers.
When is the last time you heard the “f” word at work? If you are like most, it might have been today or the last working day. No matter how common it is, it is still unprofessional.
The same is true of “oversharing” information, gossip, and judgmental comments.
Self-monitoring also encompasses the ability to maintain productive composure, refraining from losing one’s temper or striking back in conversations in a combative manner.
Finally, still unacceptable is drinking, taking drugs, and/or smoking marijuana on the job. For some the same could be true of smoking cigarettes or cigars but, at the very least, mind and behavior altering substances should be avoided during work hours.
Don’t try to be one of the “gang”.
Trying to fit in often turns into blurred boundary lines or faded areas of responsibilities. Leaders who make that mistake often find they are called on to make exceptions or bend rules and policies to accommodate one of their work “friends.”
Play the role you are given and let your staff play theirs.
Keep clear boundaries.
Clear boundaries in everything! Work and life. Staff and friends. Owners and managers.
These are all important but one of the most common mistakes made by owners is trying to convert staff members, managers or not, into close friends or even “family.” Once they do they take away their ability to be objective and often they find they have created a difficult situation when performance slips and reprimand or even termination are needed.
There is a time for empathy in business. Be the first to show it.
Realize that work is just that for most people and that you are the only one that has true ownership of the business. Show your staff that you value more than just the revenue, more than just the rating.
Maintain a professional image.
I live and work in a very casual workplace town.
Portland, Oregon has one of the most relaxed overall workplace standards in the country. Several multinational organizations that operate here allow shorts and flip flops in the workplace.
That is all well and good if everyone has the same opportunity and if the vision, values, and mission are aligned with that type of relaxed professionalism.
When it is not appropriate for a leader is when the staff is expected to dress in one fashion and the owners choose another. Slipping into work in your work-out gear is simply not the right behavior to model if you expect your client facing staff to be business casual.
This recommendation could be taken much deeper to include personal hygiene and some behaviors that were covered earlier. Let’s suffice to say that, “you get the picture.” And you do.
Role Model Leadership Helps Your Business
In the end, just remember, all eyes are on you and that makes you and the behavior you exhibit to be very powerful indeed.
You can set the tone for professionalism and productivity just by being the model for the behavior you expect from your employees.
Business Leadership Coaching with Sherry Jordan
As a small business owner, employee management is an important component to your overall success.
Sherry Jordan’s comprehensive business consulting and planning services include helping business owners become better role models.
Get in touch with Sherry Jordan to learn how you can help your business succeed through role model leadership, strategy planning, & more!