Merge's Blog

Leaders are role models for their employees

Kit Grant is “The Director of Comfort Zone Infiltration”!  He works with organizations  to help create environments that foster personal responsibility and accountability.  He’s also my professional colleague and good friend, and he agreed to guest-author today’s blog post.  Thank you, Kit!

People learn primarily by following — in other words, they copy the behavior they see being demonstrated by others. If you have children, you know that’s true as demonstrated every time your spouse points out something your child is doing that’s just like you! Employees aren’t that much different. If the person “in charge” behaves with little concern towards customers, why would the staff do anything different? Staff don’t want to get in trouble with customers but they’ll do whatever they can to avoid getting into trouble with the boss. The best way to do that is to behave just like the boss! Chances are your best memories of good leaders you worked for were those whose behavior made you feel most at ease. The real problem is staff will replicate whatever behavior they see, be it good or bad.

If you come in late to work and leave early, you teach staff to get there just before you and leave just after you do. If you’re enthusiastic and positive, you definitely increase the likelihood your people will exhibit the same traits. In working with companies to improve  customer service delivery, I point out service is not something you do — it’s something you are. All good external service starts with good internal service.  In fact, previous postings on this blog have pointed out that people do not leave organizations, they leave bad managers.

One of the best leadership principles to adopt is to consistently demonstrate the behavior you want in others.

Well, you can’t argue with this!  If you are a leader, then you are a role model, good or bad, for your employees.  What’s been your experience?  What good and bad examples have you observed of this phenomenon?  Please share.

You can reach Kit through his website at

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