Leadership IS example. You don’t lead people by what you say to them; you lead them by what they see you do. Consider yourself on display. Realize that—for better or worse—you ARE a role model for your team members. Your attitude and actions serve as a constant point of reference for coworkers struggling to make the right changes in their job behavior adapting to the new normal.
As this pandemic and work-from-home imperative progresses day-by-day, you must deliberately go about your leadership and management duties with a style and manner that leave no doubt about your acceptance of the current culture shift—as hard as that might be some days.
You can make no stronger statement about your determination to persevere—even while working from home—than to embrace it yourself. You’ll find no better way to coach employees on what the culture must look like than by how you carry yourself.
This is not a drill. It requires a conscious effort. This is real, and most of us were completely unprepared.
To start, coworkers need to see you make some dramatic, high-profile changes yourself—in your priorities, attitude, or overall management approach. Startle people. Make a hard, right-angle turn or two in how you do things. You must be obvious.
You must also respect the need for immediacy. Your organization can’t afford to have managers give themselves weeks and months to catch the spirit and gradually bring their behavior into alignment with the new at-work culture.
Neither does it work if manager say one thing and do another—by advising team members on how to adapt—but failing to lead them by example. Walking your talk puts muscle into your requests and directives. If your behavior portrays the new reality and culture, then by all rights it’s fair for you to expect employees to do likewise.
Show enthusiasm—not drudging compliance. Just as your behavior influences the actions of others, the spirit with which you do it colors their attitudes. Your team members should be able to get a refresher course on the “new culture” any time they need it just by watching you work.