Leading by example usually means being a role model, and showing others how to behave and conduct themselves in a professional and effective manner. My approach to that is pretty much there with some nuance. I like to show up as a human being and build a safe environment where it’s OK for everyone to show up as they are as well.
One of the key benefits of leading by example is that it helps to inspire and motivate others. When people see me acting in a certain way, they are more likely to follow suit. For example, if I am always punctual and prepared for meetings, my team members are likely to be more punctual and prepared as well. I wish it were always true, but in reality this is a work in progress. I try to be respectful and fair in my interactions with others, and expect the same from the team.
Leading by example also means building credibility. I like to say that my team see me acting in a consistent and ethical manner, and I hope they are more likely to trust and respect them. This can be particularly important in situations where I am asking the team to do something difficult or challenging. If I am seen as trustworthy and credible, the team is more likely to be willing to follow.
Being mindful of my own behavior and actions is not easy. I think it comes with experience and goes hand in hand with building empathy. I like to try and align my values and the values of the organization. This may require making difficult choices or sacrifices, but it is essential for building trust and credibility.
Being open and transparent about my own challenges and mistakes helps a lot. Nobody is perfect, and it is important for leaders to be willing to admit when they have made a mistake and learn from it. This can help to create a culture of learning and continuous improvement within the organization.