There are two common and costly mistakes leaders make that can result in a loss of credibility and trust.
MISTAKE 1: Getting caught up in the Popeye Syndrome – “I am what I am.”
The implied message here is “I am the way I am and if you don’t like it, who cares?”
The trouble with the Popeye Syndrome is that it’s ineffective. It assumes that things don’t change, circumstances don’t change, and that all individuals need exactly the same things from their leaders. None of this is true. Leading by Example requires a leader to know who he or she is, yet be constantly in quest of self-improvement. Leaders also must have a keen sense of the individual needs of each team member.
MISTAKE 2: Leading by email (or by texting, project management tools, chat, or other technology) instead of Leading by Example.
Technology is a lovely thing. It makes your job and your life easier in hundreds of ways. However, it can also be used as a smokescreen to avoid difficult conversations, or to dispatch delicate communications bluntly. Leaders make this mistake when they provide feedback by email, delegate by email, and reset expectations by hitting the Send key … even when a team member is sitting in the very next cubicle!
Leading by Example means being out there as a leader, getting in the mud with your people. It’s about being visible and available by walking around each day, showing up at functions, and being in the mix. If your team members work remotely, make sure you connect with them by phone every other day, and in person once per quarter. You can’t go first or model the behaviors you want to see in others from behind a high-tech computer monitor.