Mangers Who Lead by Example Enhance Employee Motivation

by | Mar 17, 2011 | Employee Recognition, Reward Programs


The adage, ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ doesn’t work with children, and it doesn’t work with employees. Employers and managers need to lead by example to foster a work environment that enhances employee motivation, engagement, and productivity.

Unfortunately, some leaders just don’t get this strategy and it can very well affect the attitude and behavior of their employees. This in turn affects the company’s bottom line.

The problem at times arises with leaders who are “suffering from power poisoning,”explains Robert Sutton, a professor in Stanford’s department of management science and engineering. He uses this term to refer to employers and managers who abuse their headship. Employers need to be aware of this situation and steer clear of it.






Sutton discussed the business leader and employee relationship with’s Leigh Buchanan, “Employees are always watching the boss. For bosses in the top position, that scrutiny is intense. Everything you do is magnified. You have to pay attention to every little thing.”

It is especially true for those at the very top, such as CEOs. If the company achieves a recognizable accomplishment, it’s the CEO who will be honored for leading the company to success. But, the same holds true if there is a mistake, usually the leader of the company will be blamed.

This is where employee trust and confidence can be enhanced, or crumble to pieces. If the CEO acknowledges his employees’ efforts in the company’s success, the employees will feel appreciated. And, if he shoulders the blame for mistakes without trying to pass the buck, employees will value him as a strong and ‘stand-up’ leader. The actions of the leaders in the company significantly matter to the employees.

Along with this, a business leader needs to demonstrate confidence in all the decisions he makes for the company. Sutton explains, “Research shows that if you, as the authority figure, act confident about implementing the decision, it increases the odds of success. If you lack confidence, people will be less committed to your decision.”

Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Well, for the business leader who wants to help motivate his employees, he must be the change he wants to see in his company.


<strong>About </strong>Nichole Gunn

About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.

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