Learn How to Lead by Example in a Dynamic Business Climate

One of the most powerful ways to inspire and motivate team members is to lead by example. This leadership style builds trust and credibility and fosters a positive work environment that encourages continuous improvement and a strong work ethic.

Effective leadership is more critical than ever. Learning the practical application and understanding the benefits of leading by example is essential for the success of any organization.

**Description:** When you lead by example, your word is your bond

When you lead by example, your word is your bond

How do you use lead by example?

To lead by example, you should embody the values and model the behaviors you expect from your team members. You should clearly communicate your expectations, hold yourself accountable for your actions, be transparent in your decision-making, and empower your team to take ownership of their work. When you lead by example, you are “walking your talk,” meaning your actions match your words. Your word is your bond.

The power of leading by example

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. - John C. Maxwell

It is essential to model the behaviors and values you expect from your team members. If you demonstrate a strong work ethic, your team members will demonstrate the same work ethic. If you are committed to continuous improvement, they will be too. You are your team’s role model, and your team will replicate your attitude and actions. This will, in turn, determine your team’s morale and effectiveness.

This leadership approach has several benefits, including:

  • Building trust: When you demonstrate your expected behaviors, you build trust and credibility with your team members. Your employees will be more confident in your abilities and are more likely to follow your guidance.
  • Fostering a positive work environment: Leaders who lead by example create a positive work atmosphere. Your employees will feel valued and motivated to perform at their best. This leads to enhanced productivity and overall success for your company.
  • Encouraging continuous improvement: Modeling the benefits of making mistakes and learning from them will inspire others to do the same and seek improvement. This culture of continuous improvement dramatically benefits your business.
  • Boosting team morale: When you actively engage with your employees and demonstrate a genuine interest in their well-being, you create a supportive environment that boosts confidence and job satisfaction.

How to lead by example

There are many ways you can lead by example. And whether positively or negatively, you are always leading by example. However, some core expectations define great leaders.

Be a role model

Follow your values and those of your firm. If you show up to work early, your team members will too. If you pay attention to details, they will also do the same. Create and maintain standards where nobody, including yourself, breaks the rules.

Communicate expectations

Be clear about what you want from your team. Clear any obstacles for them and provide the necessary resources and support to meet your expectations.

Hold yourself accountable

Influential leaders acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them. Doing so shows your team members that it is okay to make mistakes as long as they learn and grow from the experience.

Be transparent

Be open and honest with your team members. Your actions must match your words. Sharing your thought process or decision-making will further build trust and encourage open communication within your team.

Empower your team

Take ownership of your work. Encourage your employees to do the same. Provide them with opportunities to develop their leadership skills.

What is an example of leading by example?

Sir Richard Branson is well-known for being anything but traditional. As the founder of Virgin Group, he leads with an unconventional style, focusing on empowering employees, taking risks, and encouraging innovation wherever possible. He often engages in adventurous activities and publicity stunts to promote his companies, demonstrating that he doesn’t just think outside the box; he removes it entirely. Branson’s leadership approach has helped him build a successful business empire and inspire countless entrepreneurs worldwide.

Why is leading by example important?

Leading by example is important because of what happens when you do not lead this way. The following table outlines the actions and consequences of not leading by example.

When leaders do not practice what they preach, employees lose trust and respect for themLoss of trust and credibility, and a decline in authority and influence
When leaders do not adhere to their own rules, this creates a work culture where employees feel betrayed, deceived, and unsettledA hostile work environment with low morale
If a leader doesn’t set a good example, employees may struggle to perform wellLow work ethic and a decline in overall performance and productivity
If a leader says one thing but does another, it challenges the organization’s values and prioritiesInconsistency and confusion
When a warehouse manager does not model safe work behaviors, teams may miss or ignore important safety measures, leading to potential accidents and injuriesPoor safety practices and a potentially dangerous work environment
If not led by example, employees may feel uninspired and unwilling to collaborate with their teammatesHindered teamwork and cooperation
If a manager does not practice leading by example, innovation and continuous improvement will be hamperedStifled innovation, growth, and success

Why is leading by example important?

Leading by example is important because it inspires and motivates team members, builds honesty, trust, and credibility, and promotes a positive work environment committed to continuous improvement. Good leaders effectively guide their teams and contribute to the organization’s success.


Leading by example is a powerful and transformative leadership approach that profoundly impacts the success and growth of any business. The most outstanding leaders in the world clear obstacles for their team, enable them with the necessary support and resources to deliver their objectives, and embody their organization’s values. This approach motivates and inspires employees and encourages a culture of continuous improvement, innovation, and collaboration.

Leaders who embrace this leadership style serve as role models for their teams and empower them to reach their full potential. As such, companies that prioritize leading by example are better equipped to navigate the challenges of today’s dynamic economies and achieve success.

What is an MBA in Creative Enterprise?

The MBA in Creative Enterprise is a relatively new Master of Business (MBA) specialty. Leading programs, such as Meridian University’s, prepare future great leaders to innovate socially, technologically, and culturally. This approach allows these business leaders who are oriented to the emerging experience-driven transformation economy.

Meridian University’s program is innovative and nearly ahead of its time. On the cutting edge of business, their MBA in Creative Enterprise integrates whole-person with whole-system competencies that prepare graduates to develop sustainable, generative practices. These practices not only ensure the success of the individual but also serve the greater whole. For more on leadership, check out MBA 714, Conversational Leadership and MBA 746, Leading a Creative Enterprise.

If you want to explore the impact creativity and innovation can have while following ethical principles and seasoned perspectives, contact one of our Admissions Advisors today. Ready to jump in feet first? Submit your application now.


  1. Groysberg, B., & Masko, J. (2020, November 11). Lessons on Leading Through Chaos from U.S. Special Operations. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2020/11/lessons-on-leading-through-chaos-from-u-s-special-forces
  2. Schrage, M. (2016, October 5). Like It or Not, You Are Always Leading by Example. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2016/10/like-it-or-not-you-are-always-leading-by-example

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