Company culture is often in flux - it can evolve quickly, or so gradually you hardly notice it changing. And while this is often for the better, shifting company culture can sometimes mean that standards become lax. You might look around your business and suddenly realise that behaviours that would have been deemed inappropriate a few years ago are now commonplace.
In such cases, it can be hard to know where to lay the blame. Is it the fault of a couple of individuals? A lack of training? Or does bad behaviour start at the top? Unfortunately, when standards slip, this is probably the fault of the business leaders. If the values of a leader are compromised, those of the organisation will follow. So it’s up to you, as a leader, to pay attention to your leadership style, and bring out the best in others.
If you want to inspire good habits in your staff, and help shape your team to become leaders themselves, there are a few things you can try. We’ve explored six ways of encouraging better behaviour, and bringing out leadership potential below:
1. Stick to Your Values
One of the most important things you can do as a leader, in terms of inspiring others, is keep true to your values. Let everyone know exactly what you stand for, as an individual and as a business, then ensure that you embody these values.
If you want people to emulate you, taking on the traits of a leader, you need to give them reason to. They should respect your conviction, and feel compelled to take on such traits themselves.
2. Think About What You’re Saying
It can be hard to be mindful of what you’re saying at all times, but bear in mind that you will be judged by it. And not just what comes out of your mouth! Your nonverbal communication and body language will also say a lot about your opinions and feelings, so you do have to consider these things too.
By making an inappropriate comment, you are providing tacit permission for others to do the same. Even if it was intended as a joke, you can’t be too careful with your words and expressions.
3. Consider Your Priorities
What do you prioritise at work? What do you devote most of your time to? People can often learn what is important to you by making these observations. You simply need to ask yourself whether the things you’re prioritising reflect well on you, and if they align with the values of the business.
It can also be a good idea to write out your priorities, in the interests of transparency. That way, everyone will be working towards the same goals, and there will be no ambiguity about which order tasks need to be completed.
4. Be Dependable
As a leader, your team needs to know that they can trust you. A big part of this is being transparent and honest - let people know as much as possible about your goals for the business, and the steps you’re taking to reach these goals. But another aspect of trust is being dependable.
To do this, you need to be consistent. Your team needs to know that they can always count on you, and that your conduct will be above reproach every time. If you let someone down even once, it can damage your working relationship with them moving forward.
5. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Some leaders can be quick to lose their temper, and if this is displayed in the workplace, it implies that this behaviour is acceptable. So if you’re the sort of person who doesn't have a lot of patience, and tends to shout when things go wrong, it’s essential that you try to overcome these reactions.
Instead, you should try to become the most positive person in the office! Obviously this shouldn’t mean you’re optimistic to the point of delusion, but don’t just concentrate on the negatives. Look at ways in which you move forward, rather than focusing on things that have gone wrong.
6. Treat Your Team With Respect
We all want to be treated with respect, and it’s up to you to take the first step. If you are demonstratively respectful towards your staff, they will in turn show you the respect you deserve.
Overall, your actions and words will be carefully watched, and others will judge your behaviour. You therefore need to ask yourself what sort of behaviour you want to see emulated - you have to set a good example for the business.