Leadership starts with you. This is an inescapable truth. People don’t like being told what to do. They respond better to external stimuli. The way you carry yourself can influence the way others on your team behave on a day-to-day basis. If you respect their time, they will respect yours. Phrase criticisms constructively and they’ll do the same in work-related discussions with peers. Have deep empathy for your clients or customers and key employees will follow your example. Let’s analyze three instantly actionable ways you can demonstrate the change you want to see.

1. Smile often, laugh when appropriate.

I know this seems out-of-place. The office is for work! While that’s true, work is such a huge part of our daily lives that we might as well make it as enjoyable as possible. The average person will spend 13 years and two months of their lives at work. So always be pleasant. A winning culture thrives when every member of your organization is happy to be there.

Also: bosses and managers are inherently intimidating. People might be nervous and on-edge due to a fear of saying or doing the “wrong” thing. While no form of prejudice or discrimination is okay in the workplace, employees shouldn’t be afraid of making harmless jokes that wouldn’t offend anybody. Signify this is okay by making the occasional dad joke. Trust me, it’s fine!

Encourage people to have fun by keeping things light whenever you can (of course this does not apply to business critical situations such as layoffs, restructuring, changes to benefits, or anything that is genuinely stressful for all parties involved; in that case, it’s best to be concise and straightforward so people won’t be confused about how the news will affect their future).
2. Speak of your vision or mission with passion

Nobody should be clueless about the impact your company aims to make in the world at large. Every single employee should have a firm understanding of why your organization exists, who it serves, and how you’ll make their life better. There can be no vagueness. You must be precise!

For an example, check out the feature/benefit pages on Nextiva website (https://www.nextiva.com/why-nextiva/nextos-platform.html )

What hope or dream sparked you to launch this business in the first place? Why are you so determined to help everyday people who reside in your demographics? How do you plan to make your product or service so helpful customers couldn’t imagine not having it in their life?

If you haven’t thought about these questions in a while, it might help to journal and meditate. This exercise will be even more powerful if you put yourself in the shoes of your former self: the aspiring man or woman who persisted despite uncertainty to launch a successful company.

Remember the takeaways anytime you introduce yourself to a new staff member, lead team meetings, or write a company wide email. Your passion should be so contagious that it rapidly spreads throughout your entire workforce, multiplying their enthusiasm to a substantial degree.

3. Select essential leadership figures with caution

“Cultural fit” is bordering on a buzzword nowadays. And we have to pursue culture fit carefully. The goal is to create a strong culture of like-minded collaborators, not exclude exceptional folks just because they used less-than-ideal verbiage during an interview.

We should give more weight to tangibles such as: real-life experience, references/testimonials, and demonstrated results than one-or-two word choices that differ from what we would’ve said. Disclaimer done, culture fit does matter (especially for your highest ranking employees).

Imagine how hard it would be to build a culture that embodies positivity when the manager who interacts with your frontline staff every day is one of the most negative people alive. Good luck! Employees would rightfully attach more meaning to that manager’s actions than a CEO’s words.

Since the way people treat us often influences the way we interact with others, your customers would probably start complaining about negativity and a lack of compassion. This is why you’ve gotta select management types with a shining personality and superb soft skills.

They are leaders, after all. And leadership requires more than a big brain and technical skills. Leading people effectively comes down to communication above all else. Expect those who occupy your key leadership positions to embody all three elements of this list.

Author's Bio: 

David Geer is a Tech Entrepreneur, a business development consultant, a motivational speaker, and a freelance writer. He has worked as a full time technology writer/technology journalist for 12 years. His work regularly appears in national and international publications.