What Are Your Favorite Leadership Lessons?

Jeremy’s son following his example, eating his snack without a bowl.

This article originally appeared on the FCR blog on May 15, 2017. Click here to read the original.

Take a moment with me to think about some of your favorite leadership phrases. One of mine is: Lead by example.

Lead by example got me, as a customer service leader, to stop arguing with customers about who was right or wrong – even when I knew I was right.

Lead by example compelled me to smile, pause what I was doing, and give complete focus to the brand-new agent who came to my desk with his fifteenth question of the day.

Lead by example convinced me to take a deep breath before responding when another member of my team called in sick five minutes before their 5am shift started.

Lead by example also came in handy when our system went down, the call queue filled up, and our team really needed another person to help on the phones.

Yes, leading by example is important, and no, it’s not easy. This became all the more real for me when I, as a father, observed my youngest child sitting on our couch eating a snack. Where he would have normally been required to eat out of a bowl, and probably not on the couch, he chose to put his snack on his chest. “Why?” you ask. Probably because the guy taking the picture (me) was doing the same thing.

This is a valuable and visual reminder of the importance of leading by example and the fact that our teams are watching us. When something like 93% of communication is nonverbal, it goes without saying that our actions as leaders speak a whole lot louder than our words. To put this another way, imagine having a set of values that are stated on the company website, but not actually living them in the workplace. That’s what I’m getting at.

Perhaps you have a problem with your agents arguing with or being rude to customers. Or perhaps you have infighting on the team and a general lack of teamwork. Or maybe the service you offer to customers is blah and you simply want to raise the bar. My best leadership (and parenting) advice is to take a long look in the mirror and start living the values you want your team to live. Lead by example!

That’s one of my favorite, simple leadership lessons. What are some of yours? Leave a comment below or share on Facebook or Twitter.

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