Leadership Starts at the Top

February 5, 2021
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The adage “do as I say, not as I do” is not an effective form of leadership. A president of a company who strictly enforces early arrivals and late departures, but dips out early whenever she has a golf game to get to, is sending her employees mixed messages. True leadership starts at the top. Leaders in organizations need to work hard, be organized, and communicate. 

Leaders Need to Work Hard

Successful leaders of organizations need to lead by example by working hard themselves. According to a 2018 Harvard study, CEOs work an average of 62.5 hours a week, compared to the average American who works 44 hours a week. Almost half of these hours, however, are worked on weekends and vacation days or holidays. These are days not necessarily seen by employees. Employees need to know their leaders are working just as much, if not more, than them. This is not to say leaders should email their employees after-hours just to make sure they know they’re still working, but leaders should prove they are working these hours by what they produce. Whether they contribute creativity, clients, etc. they need to show their employees that they are working hard. In order to do this, they will also need to stay organized. 

Leaders Need to Be Organized

The fact is, organization leads to productivity. Leaders who are organized will foster productivity in their companies. Organization allows people to give their attention to what is important, because they are able to compartmentalize their responsibilities. When you look into the top qualities of a leader, integrity is usually number one. Being organized assists you in integrity by helping you keep your word. If you have an organized system, you won’t forget about that Monday 8am brainstorming meeting. A leader who answers emails timely, shows up early for meetings, and holds true to their word leads by example. The employees will take notice and begin to do so as well. Even more, employees and clients with those qualities will be attracted to your organization. Being organized will also help you with communication. 

Leaders Need to Be Communicators

Communication is an integral part of an organization. Employees who feel valued in a company often feel that through communication. According to the 2019 Forbes 45 most beloved CEOs, almost every company is mentioned for how the company makes the employees feel. The only way to do this, is through communication. When leaders communicate about what is going well or not so well in the company, employees feel valued. They feel trusted with information that is important to the leader, and therefore they feel important to the leader. Leaders who foster this communication in their organizations lead by example, and the employees will follow. 

Just because you are at the top of a company does not mean you should feel privileged to act the way you want. Instead, you should act the way you want your employees to act. If you want them to show up early, you need to show up earlier. If you want them to answer emails promptly, you need to answer emails promptly. If you want them to be honest about the company, you need to do so as well. The entire culture of an organization rests in the leader’s hands. Once that culture is established, unofficial leaders will rise up and maintain that culture for the other employees.