I’ve written a couple of articles that in some way relate to managing other people, and there are two reasons for this:
- Managing other people is seen as the next step in almost all career paths.
- Managing other people is one of the hardest skills to master.
In other words, you can never read enough about effectively managing other people. It’s in this line of thinking that I’m going to share with you one of the most important pieces of advice I can give: Lead by example.
Sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how often we do something that sends a bad message to our team. Here are three ways that you can send a good message to your team, and consequently make yourself a better team leader.
- First to arrive, Last to leave – In general, you should be the first among your team to arrive to work and the last to leave. This sets a great example for the rest of your team as to the level of your commitment not only to your project but to them. It will help to set a good work pace, as they can see you working from the time they get in until they leave. Now, this does not always have to apply. For example, if one of your team members needs to work overnight on something, you don’t have to stay with them. However, when you can, you should try to follow this tip.
- Don’t take “sick” time – Now before you light the torches, let me explain. It’s perfectly fine to take a day off if you actually are sick. What I’m referring to are “sick” days off, where you might be taking it for another reason (don’t even try to tell me you have never taken one). While in itself unacceptable, it becomes even more so when you begin to be responsible for others. You don’t have the liberty of not caring for a day, as people’s jobs could depend on you. What if you’re not there to answer a question and work stops? What if you miss a deadline because of that? This domino effect only gets worse, and it is something you need to think about before you call off.
- The “Bad Mouthing” ends – This might be the single most important point of the three. When you are in charge, you need to keep morale as high as you can. This means that bad mouthing other co-workers or your project can have disastrous effects. Think of it this way: If your boss starts talking about how awful your project is, what are you going to think? If he or she can’t handle it, how should you be able to? This also applies to your co-workers, especially any on your team. You should never rag on them. Your team will take their cues from you, and you need to set a good example. They most likely need to work with these people, and you want that to go smoothly without anybody having any preconceived notions.
Your team performing better can only help you out in the long run. It’s a boon not only to your current project’s success, but to the success of your career as well.