One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is leading by email (or by texting or by a project management tool or by chat or by some other technology) instead of Leading by Example. They provide feedback by email, delegate by email, and reset expectations over email. Even when their team members are sitting in cubicles right next to them!
Leading by example is all about being out there as a leader. It’s about getting in the mud with your people. Being visible and being available. You can’t go first or model the behaviors you want to see in others from behind your computer monitor.
The second mistake leaders make is getting caught up in the Popeye Syndrome – “I am what I am.” The implied message here is that you are the way you are and who cares how it impacts others. The problem with Popeye’s philosophy is that it’s just not very effective. It assumes that things don’t change, circumstances don’t change, and that individuals all need the same things from their leaders. None of those are true. Leading by Example requires that a leader knows herself and is constantly seeking self-improvement.