Are you a great role model?

It is an interesting question isn't it? 

All us parents have been caught out by our children with little voices declaring 'but you use that word mummy' or 'daddy leaves his cup there' and so on. Having children means we get direct and instant feedback on our role modelling abilities, but is this true in the work environment?

As leaders we are scrutinised as much for what we don't do as what we are doing. How often have we overheard people saying things along the lines of 'he didn't thank me for that piece of work' or 'she didn't address his poor performance'. What is often different in a work environment is that people don't feed these observations back to us directly, instead our behaviour is commented on to others and sometimes copied. 

After all a leaders behaviour is by default conferring permission on others to do the same. So to an extent as leaders and managers of others we need to be self aware and self-correcting.

Ask your self these questions:

  • Is there anything I am doing that I don't want others to do?
  • Is there anything I am not doing that I do want others to do?
  • What behaviours am I observing in my team that I could have (unwittingly) 'given permission' for them to enact?

Many an employment tribunal is kicked off by individuals who 'didn't intend for what I said/did to be taken that way...'. 

The trouble is that employment tribunals decide on awards based not on what was intended but on whether it was reasonable for the injured party to feel offended.  If you add to this the fact that for some breaches you may be held personally liable, then you can see that your behaviour at work matters. It is important that you are not sending the wrong messages and not demonstrating the wrong behaviours that those who work for you may copy.


1.    If you want people to learn, show them you are learning.

2.    If you want people to be creative, be creative yourself or praise and encourage someone who is.

3.    If you want people to respect each other then respect others yourself. This means no aside comments, juicy gossip or barbed digs at someone else's expense. Also actively discourage your team from these behaviours and be seen to do so!

4.    If you want your team to champion your goals then demonstrate to them exactly how they can do this.

5.    Write a list of things you want to happen or not happen and then work out what behaviours you can enact to DEMONSTRATE these changes to others...

Then demonstrate them and stand back to observe your feedback in action!