I write this post in a reflective mood. Oftentimes as a low-mid level manager I receive orders to enforce policies that are needed for security, safety, or both. Naturally I have no issues with this, as many companies have pretty standard and commonsense rules designed for workers have existed for millenia.
The issue I do have with many company policies are when they are enforced haphazardly or when the leadership doesn’t set the example for their employees by abiding by the same safety regulations.
In the military it’s commonplace to see an officer who moved up the ranks maintain their lives as a basic grunt. They’d eat the same food, sleep in similar quarters, suffer what their men suffer. This is character and demonstrates leadership by example. Figures like George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte have done this, inspiring awe in their soldiers.
It is also good overall policy to stick to leadership by setting the standards in the corporate world. Many times I have witnessed a Supervisor or Manager exhibit the ‘do as I say, not as I don’t method of leadership. It rarely works. More often than not the low level employees will resent it and actively disengage from following those rules whenever possible.
So my word of advice to you aspiring leaders, current leaders, and team builders: lead by example.