Leadership is a challenging and demanding quality. Management positions can be easy to work into, but titles do not qualify leaders. Since climbing the career ladder can take many years of hard work, the temptation to sit back and relax at a comfortable position is compelling. However, this management milestone is only just the beginning.

In order to inspire people, leaders must be the vanguards of the workplace. They can’t be overbearing or harshly demanding; they must set examples for others to follow. Leadership is about being both a mentor and mentee. For example, the best way to teach an exemplary sales pitch is by giving one. The nuances and subtleties to reading a client can only be demonstrated. The correct mannerisms and attitudes can also only be shown, conveying more than words or text can alone. Seasoned business-people have years of experience and instantly recognize these cues. Like a general personally leading a charge into battle, the best leaders use their first-hand expertise to teach and guide others.

Take Time Off

“Lead from the front — but don’t leave your base behind.”– Nelson Mandela

Although leading by example is a vital part to leadership, it is not the only significant quality. Another is the idea of respite. While hard work and zeal are admirable characteristics, knowing when to take a break should be equally lauded. Some managers feel that they should be a top-notch boss that never takes time off, for any reason. In this case, employees then perceive time off negatively. Less leisure time now may increase productivity in the short run, but great losses in efficiency and happiness in the long run. Time off and occasional total disconnect, can be a valuable part of an excellent team. The sales force needs time to recoup and relax to be able to deliver on expected goals. Human resources needs time to recharge their batteries to continue to interact with the team. Time off creates harmonious team dynamics and a better foundation where the individual and family prosper. It’s okay to push the team hard during working hours, but great leaders understand that great work and life balance is critical to ensure longevity, happiness and team success.

If managers take time off occasionally for personal errands or just mental health days, employees will, in turn, see that it is a positive thing. They will begin to schedule days off, which gives the leadership time to cover unpredictable employee absences and keep operations running smoothly. If the example of taking time off is set, employees are encouraged to work together to cover for each other. This sense of community produces a positive work environment. Employees do not need to feel guilty for putting their families as the top priority, as long as they cooperate within reason to schedule the best times.

“Leaders in all realms and activities of life knew that the power they had come to hold existed because they were responsible to serve the many, thus power was position of service.”— Vanna Bonta

Unbeknownst to them, supervisors can be watched by employees, when they least expect it. They may watch to see how management handles a difficult customer; they may watch how their managers respond to their superiors. If management reacts calmly and positively, employees will have more respect. This demonstrates patience and understanding, both of which are empathetic qualities. These are moments that provide inspiration to others in the workplace.

Leadership is Earned

Leadership is not commanded, just as respect is not demanded. These roles are earned. Employees who are shown appreciation for hard work and meeting sales goals will work harder in the future. A small gesture of recognition or a simple “thank you,” will go a long way. Evaluations of performance are an excellent tool for recognizing above-average work, and they are an ideal way of outlining improvement goals. These assessments are written or verbal, but they allow for one-on-one engagement, without their colleagues around.

One of the jobs of a manager is to instill confidence, pump confidence into your people. And when you’ve got somebody who’s raring to go and you can smell it and feel it, give ’em that shot.”—Jack Welsh

Management is not the final destination in a career but just a step up into a new phase of work. Whether new or an experienced manager, it is important to remember that you are the best salesperson for what you want the team to achieve. The idea of a cohesive team must not just be sold, but demonstrated through example. Cohesive teams tend to overachieve and outperform others. These teams tend to be happier, the relationship among peers tend to be more harmonious and competitive toward the achievement of their lofty goals. The most important part of leadership is the strategy of action and leading by example. As the timeless adage goes, actions speak louder than words.