How to lead by example

Part of being a successful leader is leading by example. This means modeling the behavior you want to see in your team.

If you are a manager in the legal industry, your employees will look to you to set the standards for others to follow. So it’s important to cultivate healthy habits that will support you and your team.

Here are five healthy ways to lead by example and inspire those around you to do the same.

1. Prioritize your own well-being

To support your team to the best of your abilities, it is important to take care of your health and well-being first. This includes:

When your team sees you adopting good work habits, like taking regular breaks and manage your stress level – it can inspire them to do the same. But, if you regularly work through lunch, stay late, and take too much, your team members might feel pressured to do the same.

So actively demonstrate that you take care of yourself first. By cultivating healthy work habits, you can motivate your team to follow your example.

Point: Build regular breaks into your schedule and make them non-negotiable.

2. Switch off after work

Technology has enabled people around the world to stay connected and work efficiently. But it can also encourage an “always on” culture. It can also blur the lines between work and personal life. For example, you might feel pressured to:

  • work more hours
  • keep checking your emails
  • respond to emails immediately

While it’s good for your team to know they can count on you, it’s also important to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. But that can be difficult if you work from home. Here are some things you can try to help you disconnect.

  • Try to put your work gear out of sight
  • Turn off your work phone to reduce the temptation to log in
  • Set a reminder in your calendar to clock in on time – and stick to it

In addition to physically disconnecting from work, it is also important to disconnect mentally. You might find it useful to go for a walk after work, practice some mindfulness Or read a good book. Immerse yourself in something you love. It will help you relax.

Point: If some of your employees have flexible hours, help them where you can. But make sure the rest of your team doesn’t feel pressured to work at the same time.

3. Talk about mental health

As a manager, you are responsible for looking after the mental health and well-being of your team. You can also play an important role in reducing the stigma around mental health. However, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Why not start by having a open and honest conversation with your mental health team? You may find it helpful to reflect on the current situation in your team and what affects our mental health at work. It can help your team to:

  • feel comfortable opening
  • feel understood and able to be themselves at work

It can also help you be an authentic leader and:

  • spot the signs of poor mental health
  • provide early support when needed
  • reduce sick leave
  • increase the productivity of your team

Show employees that their well-being matters to you. Encourage them to work reasonable hours. Let them know they can confidently talk to you about any personal or professional challenges if they need to.

Point: If your team doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you, make sure they know about the mental health support services that are available to them.

4. Organize regular check-ins

Whether employees are working remotely or in the office, it’s important to maintain strong relationships within your team. In a global study, employees who weren’t asked how they felt at work during the pandemic were 38% more likely to have experienced poor mental health.

So schedule regular catch-ups with each individual. Take the time to find out how they are really doing – both personally and professionally, as this can change on a daily basis. Also, make sure your team knows you’re checking in on their well-being, not “checking in” on them.

Try to understand and empathize with each employee’s situation. You can also monitor their workload and make adjustments if needed to support them.

Point: Good communication can help employees feel valued, connected and reassured. Be sure to keep them informed of any changes to your organization’s work practices, policies, and procedures.

5. Take care of your physical health

Taking care of your physical health has many benefits. Regular exercise and activity can:

  • improve sleep
  • lower stress levels
  • increase energy levels

Physical activity can also improve your mental health and well-being, which has an impact on your performance and that of your teams at work.

There are many ways to encourage and support your team to stay active during working hours. This could block time for a team stretching session. You can also try to make sure there is plenty of time to get up and move around between meetings.

Finally, take the time to review your team’s workstation setup to help prevent aches and pains to develop over time. Ask your team to carry out a workstation assessment. And check that they have the necessary equipment to work effectively.

Point: If you don’t need to meet virtually or face-to-face, why not catch up with your team members with “walk-in calls” instead?

The opinions expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.