As a business owner am I setting a good example?

I have seen far too many business owners being dishonest, behaving badly and just being poor leaders in front of their staff. A business owner sets the culture of the business and that culture can have a positive effect or a negative effect on how staff work in the business.

If a business owner is not declaring all revenue to the RRA and the staff are aware of it, then stealing is “ok” because the boss is doing it. It sounds harsh, but the owner sets the ethics of the business.

Leaders set the tone for employees through examples set in everyday tasks. Be the leader who speaks to clients in a friendly tone; who keeps his office neat and clean and doesn't sit at his desk shopping on the internet. Not only will your employees pick up on your positive cues and will follow them, but you also will have a better chance at enforcing the code of ethics when you are doing things the way you want your employees to do them.

One of the fastest ways to cause structural deterioration, foster confusion, and damage morale is to go around your direct reports. All team members need to respect the leadership at every level. If the senior leaders don’t respect the chain of command, why would anyone else? This also applies to company policies. If owners don’t follow the policies their staff will start doing the same.

Be a leader who tackles problems in a constructive fashion without losing your temper or ignoring the issue. When your employees see that you are willing to deal with a serious customer complaint or can solve a supplier issue that has halted production, they become more confident in your ability as a leader. They also learn how to better deal with problems that come across their desk.

Take the time to sit down with employees who are having personal or professional struggles, so that you can see what the best solution is for everyone. When your team is valued, they are loyal and they value you as a leader.

Although there are many different leadership styles you can employ, it is important that you act as a leader and not as a friend to your employees. If you are a friend to your employees, it is tough for people to trust in your vision. Plus, criticism and disciplinary actions are more difficult when you haven't established yourself as the leader of the company.

Communicate the mission, vision, values, and goals. Then step back and let the team innovate. Setting this example for the team will encourage your other managers to do the same.

Good leaders must lead by example. By walking your talk, you become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing, but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership. Remember, your team will follow your lead, and the choices you make as a leader will affect everything from company morale to sales.

Navy Seal Creed - “I serve with honour on and off the battlefield … I lead by example in all situations.”