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If you have young children and you’ve just asked them to wash the dishes you will have heard the phrase ‘But daddy doesn’t do that… why should I?’ My son is 8 months old and even now I know that whatever I expect of him, I need to set the example. If I want him to be hard working, loving, active, disciplined etc then I need to be those things.
And the same is true when leading in the corporate setting. As a leader, Clay Lowe would suggest, that the second cornerstone of leader is that you Set Standards. For example you might set a standard for dealing with conflict e.g. ‘We do not back-bite’ (or whatever the appropriate terminology is). People are clear that if they have a problem with someone they don’t just talk badly about them to the rest of the team, but rather an appropriate open forum is encouraged.
By setting standards, people are clear on what is expected of them.
It also means you have to lead by example. You need to live whatever it is you expect from your team, company or family. If you expect your team to be on-time, then don’t make a habit of being late for meetings. If you expect honesty, don’t make it a practice to lie to clients about why you weren’t able to meet the deadline.
Simply put, a good leader will be trustworthy. If people can trust you they will happily follow, particularly through the tough times. If they see a hypocrite, they won’t row hard and will jump-ship at the earliest opportunity.
So if you don’t want to hear ‘He doesn’t do it… why should I?’, it might be time you started washing the dishes ;p