The Best Leadership Advice You May Ever Get

March 28, 2018 0 Comments

Lead by Example in Every Moment

By Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt, PhD

After working with leaders at all levels of organizations as an organizational development consultant and teaching leadership for nearly two-decades, I want to share some key lessons I have found to be true. These tips may help you build a loyal following, repair damaged relationships and boost your career.

Leaders are followed by many people. The way he or she behaves, reacts, dresses—essentially all actions, sets a standard for the rest of the team to follow. That is exactly why it is so important that the leader, lead by example in every situation, so that followers follow the right path as well. Below we have put together some of the basic actions which a leader can follow to lead by example.

1.      Get to work. The best way to lead by example is rolling up your sleeves to get your hands dirty. Brace yourself and dive into work just like everyone else at the office is doing. Being the leader doesn’t mean you get to sit back and relax while everyone else does the work; on the contrary, it’s up to you to put in the MOST EFFORT so that employees can take inspiration from how hard their boss works. If you work hard, your followers will too.

2.      Be truthful, but also mind what you say. Honesty is the best policy. Don’t give excuses, aka “white lies” to hide anything, because lies have no colors. They are all fundamentally, not the whole truth. When in a situation, that something you say will gravely harm others then it’s best to just keep your mouth shut and not make the situation worse. Words can harm more deeply than actions, and you should be able to use them wisely. It really is best to help make people right and find ways to utilize the talents and strengths of others. A loss of an employee harmed by your ego can not be so easily estimated. In the longer-run, a loss of an employee’s morale can be quite significant to your organization

3.      Show respect. Show the proper respect to your higher in commands and also to each of your employees. We are all humans and have something to offer. Failing to be respectful to employees or higher-ups can shut people down and minimize future interactions. People must feel safe, trusted and empowered. Your actions and words are powerful in building or or deflating the organizational climate, one person at a time. Treat people with genuine respect in each interaction and your employees will show the same level of respect to you and their colleagues. The important thing to remember is that you are not the highest predator in the food chain; there is and always will be someone above you. We each have the power to influence others at all-levels.  Remembering that every person requires genuine respect can help create significant boosts in productivity, creativity, and innovation.

4.      Own up to your faults and failures. Let’s face it, we are all human. It is human to make mistakes. Just because you have an official title that makes you a decision-maker, it does mean that you are infallible. Mistakes are inevitable and sometimes they will be made by your orders or decisions. During these moments, your duty and right thing to do is to accept the mistake, learn from it and also take the responsibility and deal with the consequences accordingly. No one is perfect. Not admitting mistakes openly will only make the situation worse. Remember that no failure is a loss if you learn from it. Treat your mistakes and the mistakes of your employees as learning opportunities that can help make things better in the future. Many mistakes can be opportunities to create and innovate.

5.      Listen. Caught up in the rush of the office and giving orders, it is easy to forget your surroundings. However, trust me when I say this: most of the mistakes and misunderstandings in the office happen when the leader forgets or refuses to just listen. Listen to what your advisors, clients, and employees have to say. Maybe there is a fault in the product/service which customers are pointing out in their feedback. Isn’t it your duty to listen and work on solving the problem? Listening to understand from the other person’s perspectives can provide valuable information that can heal relationships and create future wins for all stakeholders. Listening is one of the most-important leadership skills to have. Relationships are fragile. Treat each person like they are intelligent and valuable in the way you listen to them. You may be surprised how it can make you an even more respected leader.

The key to leading well is remembering that there are others out there who are following your every move. Lead by example, and lead them well.

Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a tenured professor of management, diversity and leadership lecturer/trainer and the author of several publications available on, including Diversity at Work and the new Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer has a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link:


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