Leading by example: apply to yourself what you expect of others.

Leading by example: apply to yourself what you expect of others.

It is by being an example of the qualities he or she expects from employees that a manager asserts his or her legitimacy, instils trust, and advances both performance and well-being in the workplace. This observation which may seem like common sense is the object of a study undertaken by Prof. Rémi Finkelstein, deputy director of the Parisian Laboratory for Applied Social Psychology (University of Paris 8 and Paris 10). The objective: to explain the bases and impacts of management by example.

How does one measure management by example?

Punctuality, responsiveness, team spirit, being polite and considerate towards others, taking initiative, showing a sense of responsibility… these are some of the qualities that are generally expected from a person who exercises authority and power in a work context. To assess management by example, we do not ask employees: “Is your manager like this or that?” We ask: “Is your manager as responsive as he/she expects you to be?” Using a scientifically approved measurement tool, scores can be established to assess example-based management and its evolution over time.

Why are employees so sensitive to managerial quality?

« In the scope of a work contract, the employee depends to a great extent on his or her direct superior for a whole range of aspects that directly impact his or her career (progress, remuneration…) as well as private life (holidays, breaks…). Managers, and anyone else who has authority over an employee, are under almost meticulous scrutiny. People will watch their managers’ attitudes closely to determine whether they can trust them or whether they should be on their guard and protect themselves. Social exchange theory clearly shows that people naturally expect reciprocity. What one gives, engenders a diffuse duty to reciprocate. This works both ways, for the manager and the managed».

How does exemplary behaviour affect performance?

« A fair balance between manager and employee in terms of speed, reliability and respect generates reciprocal trust and boosts both individual and collective efficiency. The attitude of a boss who sets goals and expects things to be done because he or she asked for it, is ineffective. On the other hand, someone who shows how he or she works so that employees can draw inspiration from it, gets strong commitment from the teams and makes it easier for employees to learn new procedures. By developing their own relational skills and assessing their managerial exemplariness, managers put their teams on the road towards continuous, shared improvement and work satisfaction. What is true at first-level
management is also true in management committees. Anyone who is managed is in the position to assess the example that his or her own manager sets, from the lowest to the top level of management in a company».


FINKELSTEINAbout Professor Rémi Finkelstein : Rémi Finkelstein is a professor in social and organisational psychology and deputy director of LAPPS (Parisian Laboratory for Applied Social Psychology) which is attached to the Universities of Paris 10 and Paris 8. He is also head of the Professional Master ’s programme at Paris 8 in social psychology at work and human resources.
Specialising in questions of organisational fairness, he conducts applied research programmes in companies to understand more about the antecedents and organisational consequences of processes such as commitment, stress in the workplace and counterproductive behaviour. Rémi Finkelstein is also a member of the PerformanSe scientific committee.

PerformanSe has been working together with Rémi Finkelstein to develop
and finalise a tool to assess management by example. This research has led to a CIFRE (Industrial Conventions for Training through Research) thesis on psychosocial antecedents and the consequences of management by example, written in English by a Chinese doctoral student.


Publications de Rémi Finkelstein :
• Finkelstein, R. (sous presse). Justice organisationnelle et stress au travail : Quels liens pour quelles pratiques ? In D. Truchot (Ed.). Les risques psycho-sociaux au travail. Paris : Dunod.
• Finkelstein, R. & de Septenville, A. (2012). Evaluation de la formation, auto-efficacité et bien-être affectif au travail : le rôle médiateur du sentiment d’appartenance sociale. Psychologie du Travail et des Organisations, 17, 318-333.
• Leroy, J. ; Finkelstein, R. & Rubens, L. (2012). Comment étudier les comportements hostiles au travail ? Conceptualisation et application dans un contexte français. Les Cahiers Internationaux de Psychologie sociale, 3, 393-416. https://www.cairn.info/resume.php?ID_ARTICLE=CIPS_095_0393 • Leroy, J. & Finkelstein, R. (2010). Mémoire de l’autorité ou injustice perçue ? Quand l’amorçage sémantique et l’expérience passée de l’autorité influencent l’adhésion à des comportements contreproductifs au travail.Les Cahiers Internationaux de Psychologie Sociale, 86, 275-296. https://www.cairn.info/revue-les-cahiers-internationaux-de-psychologie-sociale-2010-2-page-275.htm • Finkelstein, R. & Poirot, M. (2008). Organizational justice and team and management support : The mediating role of managerial exemplarity. Recherches en Economie Expérimentale: Les Cahiers du CEREN, 22, 2-12
• Finkelstein, R. (2005). Du sentiment de justice aux relations sociales dans les organisations. In P. Delhomme et al. (Eds.), Psychologie sociale, 213-267. Col. HU-Psycho. Paris : Hachette.

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