Any parent knows: children learn from what we do much more than from what we say. The same can certainly be said for members of a team under your leadership. You can tell them how you would like them to collaborate, what you want from them in terms of respect for others, or the best way to manage their time, but if you are not modeling the behavior, all that will fall on deaf ears.

Your team is not trying to be difficult or get in the way of your vision, they are listening to the nonverbal instructions you are giving them. So it’s up to you to give them the right ones:

  • Ask for feedback–If you are willing to listen to the insights of your team, they will be willing to listen to yours. If you have hired the right people, they will have valuable information and suggestions to streamline a process or improve a product.
  • Mentor–Develop the talent on your team. Teach them what you know and let them grow. Encourage them to mentor newer team members as well. Developing individual relationships on a team can lead to greater success with brainstorming projects.


  • Be specific–Especially if you have very particular expectations, be clear about what they are and how they could be exceeded. Generalities often result in average outcomes.


  • Be human–There will be times when someone on your team has work/life balance issues for a while or an emergency. Sometimes that person will be you. 

You don’t have to be perfect to be a good leader–you just have to be paying attention. Just like all those people following are.

Wendy Stackhouse for Artisan Creative