We’ve all heard the phrase “lead by example”. But do our actions always match our words?
Let’s say you tell your employees that you believe work/life balance is important. To emphasize this, you tell them not to check email or voicemail on the weekends, so they’ll have more time to spend with their families. Yet, you frequently send out emails and voicemails on Saturday or Sunday.
If you send email and voicemail on weekends, your employees will probably feel compelled to check their email and voicemail on the weekend. Your actions do not match your words.
Here’s another example. You tell your employees you believe quality time with their families is important; it should be a priority. But then you schedule a meeting, which begins so early on Monday that your employees will have no choice but to drive to the meeting location and stay in a hotel on Sunday night, to make it to the meeting on time.
Is this likely to send the message that you truly believe in the importance of quality time with the family, and respect the need for work/life balance? Of course not.
When you’re leading, your actions should match your words. When your actions match your words, you build trust. The consistency between your words and actions creates confidence that you can be counted on to say what you mean and mean what you say. This foundation of consistent behavior and trust will help you build a team that walks through fire for you.