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September 26, 2018

6 Real-Life Examples of How Senior Managers Lead by Example


When it comes to manager and leadership communication, I’m often asked for examples of how senior managers who lead by example have made an impact on the success of programs.

My answer is always that savvy leaders know the importance of leading by example. They know themselves and have an understanding of how others see them and realize that their people are watching not only what they say, but what they do.

Here are 6 real-life examples of senior managers casting the right shadow:

  1. Taking swift action
    During the annual climate survey, a senior leader completed his survey right away and communicated that to his team, encouraging them to complete their surveys and reminding them about the importance of their input in creating a future everyone can feel good about.
  2. Sharing individual efforts
    At a town hall meeting where a senior leader was discussing some much-needed business changes, the senior leader shared how he was planning to work differently given the business climate: what specifically he was planning to do differently, which encouraged his employees to think about the changes each of them needed to make.
  3. Communicating the need to plan wisely
    A senior corporate communications manager often felt as if her work was reactive and non-strategic due to last-minute requests for help with tactics. We showed her a smart framework to plan – our “Take 5” planning template – to create better communications, whether it’s a face-to-face conversation or a presentation for 1,000 people. By applying this discipline to every request from her business unit leads, she’s been able to help them understand the importance of planning. As a result, the business unit leads have become more self-sufficient and the manager has been able to focus on her long-term communications plan.
  4. Providing a seat at the table
    A senior communications professional we’ve worked with didn’t feel as if his function was valued by the divisional president and his leadership team. Communications was often an afterthought for these senior leaders, and it had no role in moving the business forward. When it came time for the strategic planning meetings for the next fiscal year, the communications manager – who was in charge of agenda creation for large, internal meetings – devoted an equal amount of time to communications planning as he did to other areas of the business.

    During that time, he demonstrated to the leaders the value strategic communications  brings to engaging employees and moving the needle in their functional areas. Now, communications has a seat at the table before business decisions are made, and communications plays a significant role during the strategic planning process.
  5. Communicate common methodologies
    A senior manager had a new internal communications team – some were new to the organization with strong internal communications skills; others were new to internal communications and veterans with the company. Their varied skill sets could either be a hurdle or an opportunity. The manager took advantage of this unique opportunity to level set with his new team and bring everyone up to speed on common methodologies, processes and tools they should use as they consult with their clients. Examples included common processes for intake of new projects, structure and format of communication plans, ideal email templates and more. This was a terrific leadership strategy, centered around the principle of spending time with your team teaching them the right methodologies and outlining the key behaviors and expectations that you want them to deliver.
  6. Make communication a priority
    We worked with this manager to gauge the most important communication and consulting skill sets and needs of his team, which then formed the basis for comprehensive training. He led by example by making communication and learning and development a priority for his own communication team so they could grow and add even more value to the company.

In what ways can you do a better job of leading by example?

—David Grossman

Click below to get an easy-to-download poster to hang in your office. Then pick one quote a week and use it as inspiration as you continue to advance your leadership skills in the year ahead—download today! 

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