People - Top Tips - Role Models

Role Models

This document is designed as a quick reference guide to Role Modelling.

This will enable you to gain knowledge of a particular skill, task or process.

This means you can quickly find the key information that you need and refer to it on an ongoing basis whenever you need to refresh your knowledge.



A simple but effective way of influencing group members is to lead by example. You should act as a positive role model so others can learn from your actions and attitudes.

People - Top Tips - Role Models

What you need to know

The ideal approach to leading by example is to be a “do as I say and do” leader.

Be sure your actions and words are consistent. Your actions and words should confirm, support and clarify each other. Without such consistency, you lose credibility and people stop respecting you as a leader. Develop a reputation for being the type of person you tell others to be. Treat people in the same gracious and refined manner with which you want them to treat others.

You will obtain a better perspective on leading by example by becoming familiar with several different areas where the technique is especially relevant.


Step by Step

Get the corporate culture across to people

A major job for any top leader is to build, strengthen, or reinforce the corporate culture. As you probably already know, the corporate culture is the values and beliefs of an organisation that guide the actions of workers. As a leader, you can communication values and expectations by your actions.

Particularly well suited to leading by example are actions showing loyalty, self-sacrifice, and service to the company beyond the call of duty. An example of service beyond the call of duty is the supermarket store manager who jumps in to open a new checkout lane during a period of peak activity.


Do your share of dirty work

Leading by example is an excellent vehicle for demonstrating that certain undesirable, or even dangerous, tasks are of utmost importance. Managers at Florida-based Sunshine Cleaning Systems sometimes clean toilets and urinals and they do so for two very good reasons. The managers want to demonstrate the right way to clean bathrooms. At the same time they communicate the fact that cleaning toilets and urinals is not degrading (especially when it’s your core business!).

Show people what it means to act professionally

What constitutes “professional behaviour” varies widely from company to company. If you want to teach others the meaning of professional behaviour you must first define it for yourself. A useful interpretation of acting professionally is to behave with dignity, emotional maturity, and in such a way that people trust your judgement. At an open meeting between top management and plant employees, of the employees shouted out, “I think the new management stinks. We work harder than ever and get peanuts for a raise.” The plant manager responded to the unprofessional behaviour quite professionally by saying. “You are entitled to your dissatisfaction. Remember though, we are trying to stay competitive so we can keep the plant open.”

Next, strive to act professionally. If you expect group members to act professionally around customers and visitors, you should act professionally around the same groups. Equally important, you should also act professionally around the people who work for you.

Create a good impression by expressing positive attitudes about the company, your job, customers, and the company’s good and services. If you are pessimistic, members of the work group soon reflect your negative attitudes.