Nothing builds and sustains credibility better for a business professional than when he or she can lead by example.Whether you take the time to chat with new colleagues before a meeting, help out with a difficult project, or are the first to ask the hard questions, you alone are responsible for setting standards and expectations.
As a father, husband and business intermediary, people count on me for advice, leadership and guidance. I found the best way to earn their trust is by setting a good example.
Actions speak louder than words, particularly when your attitude and behavior motivate people to do their best work. Doing otherwise only confuses the people who look up to you.
By incorporating the following practices into your life, you will not only improve the way others perceive you, but you will also feel better about the way you are presenting yourself as a person that others will follow and emulate — the very definition of leading by example.
While working your “day job” may already be taking up too much of your time, getting involved in industry organizations may be just the thing you need to advance your career and set a positive example for others. I am involved professional organizations such as the Georgia Association of Business Brokers, the International Business Brokers Association, Rotary International and Street Grace.
I have found that getting out from behind my computer can be a challenge. But meeting new people and talking big-picture about my industry has been crucial to my professional advancement.
Joining professional organizations in my field has given me a chance to do just that. Best of all, most organizations have local chapters so I did not even have to travel very far to get involved.
Put family first
Putting family first is something that we all strive to do, but in today’s busy world, most of us have jobs that do not allow for much free time to spend with our family.
I know that trying to put family first above everything else may seem like a mission and not knowing how to do this can make things even harder. Jobs can be a huge part of our lives and sometimes our jobs can get out of hand and make us spend less and less time with our families.
I make it a point to be involved in my children and wife’s lives as much as possible. Taking interest in their hobbies and being an active participant is a great way to spend time with your family.
I am a lacrosse coach and Cub Scout den leader. In these roles I have the opportunity to shape lives and demonstrate to other parents how they can become involved in youth organizations to point kids in the right direction.
Look to your community
The best way to stay involved in your community is through maintaining a commitment to make a positive impact in the environment in which you work, live and play. You can gain respect, friendship and pride through community involvement.
One of the most satisfying, fun, and productive ways to lead by example and get involved in your community is through volunteerism. When you commit your time and effort to an organization or a cause you feel strongly about, the feeling of fulfillment can be endless.
Your peers, colleagues and family members are always watching you and taking notice to what you do. They will see the benefits of being involved in professional organizations, putting family first and being involved their communities.
Owner of the North Atlanta office of Murphy Business & Financial Corp., Reed has been serving clients for more than 20 years in the Atlanta, Ga., area as well as across the country. He is an accredited business intermediary, a licensed real estate broker and has owned and managed his own limited liability company. Reach him (678) 383-4781 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, your company conference creeps up. So, who’s going to plan it? Who needs to go? What does the agenda look like, and what is it we want people to take away from the experience? Set the stage from the beginning with a cross-functional planning committee, determine the key members of your team who need to attend and ensure at the end they have key takeaways.
Planning a meeting is no small task, especially when it involves hundreds, potentially thousands, of people. While meeting planning often is the job function of one person, a cross-functional planning team can have positive effects.
First, it ensures all your departments are represented and that the topics from each discipline will be discussed. Second, it brings perspectives from different people, and with that, new ideas. It also allows employees to get involved and develop new skills they may otherwise not have been exposed to.
Conferences can get expensive, and when you add in the fact that they are often in different states and last for several days, a company has to be strategic about who can attend. It’s important your senior leadership team attends, as those leaders will likely be the ones presenting the strategy and reporting on the team’s accomplishments.
While not all associates need to attend, be sure to include those who lead teams, those who interact with vendors and those who have a purpose for being there. For employees who don’t attend year after year, it could be a nice surprise to invite one or two a year that don’t typically make the list.
Vendors are vital to a company’s success, whether they are partners of record or help on a project basis. It’s important they are invited, have a seat at the table, and hear the same messages your team does, because they are an extension of your team.
So now you’re at the conference and your team is attending the general sessions. They go to the break-outs. They listen to a guest speaker. They visit the vendor fair. Conferences are so much more than just following the agenda. I challenge you and your teams at the next conference to do the following:
Make a friend — There are always people you don’t know at conferences; many people attend just to network. Take the time to meet new people and get to know what they do and how they contribute to your company’s success. Keep in touch with the people you meet.
Develop existing relationships — If you have acquaintances at conferences, think about how you can take your business relationship with them to the next level, whether it’s learning something new about them or their business.
Learn something new — Lots of new information and ideas are shared at conferences. Attend with an open mind and be ready to learn. Take two or three new learnings and put together an action plan around them.
Recognize accomplishments — Conferences are a great opportunity to publicly recognize both employees and vendors who contributed to your company’s success.
In addition to celebrating accomplishments, it’s a good time to inspire attendees about the future. Conference themes that are reflective of the company’s long-term objectives will help ensure associates and vendors at all levels leave with a common understanding of the company’s strategies and what it is counting on them to accomplish.
Paul Damico is president of Atlanta based Moe’s Southwest Grill, a fast-casual restaurant franchise with over 490 locations nationwide. Paul has been a leader in the foodservice industry for more than 20 years with companies such as SSP America, FoodBrand, LLC; and Host Marriott. He can be reached at email@example.com.