Everything starts and stops with you, the founder or CEO of the business, the person who everyone looks to when it comes to setting an example. As the leader of your company, your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves and, in turn the company, to excel in everything they do. To do this, the leader must show the way by doing it themselves, by walking the walk and talking the talk.
Warren Bennis was an American scholar and organizational consultant. He is widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies and is known to have created the famous quote “Managers are people who do things right; leaders are people who do the right thing.” As the leader, you know that keeping your team together, working towards a common goal, getting them to support and help each other is your job. If you succeed, they will succeed; morale will rise and more success will follow.
There’s almost nothing worse for company morale than leaders who follow the “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. When this happens, the loss of enthusiasm, energy and goodwill among staff is like watching a tyre deflate with frustration, cynicism and mistrust replacing any positivity that previously existed.
No matter what the situation, double standards, where people do one thing, and then say another is always a recipe for a disaster. It can be very destructive. If this has ever happened to you, I am certain the feelings that you remember are of deep frustration, a sense of disappointment and total let-down. It can be energy sapping and very hard to break out of once it has happened.
As a leader you know that you have a responsibility to your team. They look to you for guidance and strength; it is the essence of what being a leader is. And a big part of your responsibility is to lead them with and by your own actions.
So, why is it so important and what happens when you fail to do this? When you lead by example, it is the creation of the art of the possible. People can look at you and say, “Well, if he is willing to do it, then so can I.” When you set the tone of any activity, you become a source of inspiration and you make it easy for others to follow you.
This brings me on to Trust. It is the inevitable by-product of having done your job as a leader well. Trust takes time to nurture and build. But, when you stay true to your beliefs, to your core principles and when you keep your word your staff will know. Consequently, your team will follow your lead. They will put their trust in you, even when things are tough in a business. By opening yourself up to your team and showing them the way, the odds are that they will follow you anywhere.
Good leaders drive their people forward with energy, excitement, vision, inspiration and trust. A team without trust in their leader will see poor productivity, higher absenteeism and greater staff turnover. Enthusiasm may disappear and the team may fall apart. The vision you’re trying so hard to make happen will lose its appeal, all because your team doesn’t trust you anymore.
Good leadership takes real strength of character and a firm commitment to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason…..even if it is hard. This means doing what you say, when you say it. If your team can’t trust you, you’ll never be great and you wont succeed. It’s like running a race with your shoelaces tied together. If your team knows that you’ll also do whatever you expect from them, they’ll likely work hard to help you achieve your collective goal.
Great leaders have changed the world because they lived by their own example. They made accomplishing great things the norm and not the exception. So, if you ask a colleague to do something, make sure you are willing to do it yourself. Make sure you set the example. Look closely at your own behaviour. Show respect to others and that respect will be returned. If you want people to listen to all opinions and points of view, make sure you listen yourself. We were given two ears and just one mouth for a reason!
About the Leader
Rob Leslie is the Founder and CEO of Sedicii. Rob is a serial entrepreneur has a successful track record of establishing and growing businesses to considerable scale.
Sedicii was founded in 2013 and has won over 15 technology and innovations awards to date including, most recently, the BBVA Open Innovation “Fintech for Future” Award. BBVA is the oldest and largest Fintech Innovation Program in the world and has highlighted Sedicii as “the start-up with the greatest potential to transform the financial sector in the next 10 years!” Sedicii has developed a patented zero knowledge proof protocol to help people and businesses prove their identities in real-time without compromising their right to privacy.
Rob is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer for his work on the zero-knowledge proof protocol and has spoken at Davos on cybersecurity, digital identity and other technology issues affecting the world’s economies.
Prior to Sedicii he co-founded Kyckr (ASX:KYK) which is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and provides organisational identity services for KYC & AML services to banks and other regulated financial institutions across the globe. Rob was also part of the original management team in Dell Japan that established and grew the business to almost 300 employees and $300M turnover in its first 4 years.