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Leading By Example – Part of the Team Wow?

wThis post continues the discussion on how Leaders can create the “Wow Factor” that helps to attract and retain the best possible resources for their teams.

I recently posted on the WOW Factor and how to attract and retain resources for our project teams.  The idea is that we need to be intentional about how we market our teams so that we get the best possible resources on them.  Since then, I’ve been thinking about the various ways that we as leaders can create that WOW that makes being on our teams attractive.

I was reminded of what I wrote in my first book about this under a section called “How PMs set the tone and direction for the project”.  There were some pretty good ideas that were explained in this section:

  1. Establish Team Values
  2. Enforce the Rules
  3. Stand up to Management
  4. Hold Others Accountable
  5. Recognize Individuals

Just this week I was reminded of another way that leaders create Wow and that is they lead by example.  My current team is made up of upwards of 100 people.  Many of them are from the US and Canada but there are others including offshore development teams in Eastern Europe and a shared services team in the Philippines.  The leader of the team lives in Paris.

We were moving quickly in the direction of adopting agile development techniques and we scheduled a training course in Chicago.  Initially the team lead was not going to attend that training because he had been traveling to the US for 3 weeks in a row. So I was a little surprised on the first day of the training class to find that he turned up live and in person.

This was his way of leading by personal example.  This leader sacrificed to be with the team in the training because it was the right thing to do.  Not only was he leading by making the sacrifice, he also led by showing that he was not above getting in and getting his hands dirty.  He will expect the rest of the leadership team to likewise go through this training course when the time is appropriate.  And because he has done it, they are more likely to follow his example.

Does this one occurrence of leading by example create Wow for the team?  I don’t know know.  I do know that small examples like this over time create a sense of predictability and trust.  Based on instances like this, I have come to believe that I can count on this team lead to follow through even when it requires significant personal sacrifice.  And that makes me want to do the same, and to be loyal to him and to the team.

Bottom line:  Leading by Example should be included in the list of ways that leaders create the Wow Factor for their teams.

As always, I welcome your comments.