In this episode of Built for the Trades, host Dan Dowdy emphasizes the critical role of leading by example in plumbing business leadership. He highlights that leadership extends beyond giving orders, requiring leaders to embody desired values and work ethic. Through a cautionary tale, a successful plumber recounts how his complacency led to slacking off, arriving late, and neglecting his team, resulting in high turnover and his own regression to grunt work. Reflecting on his mistakes, he wishes he had understood the importance of leading by example earlier.


  1. Setting the Tone:”As leaders, our actions speak louder than words. It all starts with setting the right tone for professionalism and work ethic. Whether it’s arriving early, dressing appropriately, or maintaining a positive attitude, our behavior sets the standard for the team.”
  2. Clear Communication:”Effective communication is key to leading by example. Clearly communicate expectations regarding professionalism and work ethic. This includes quality standards, deadlines, and the importance of integrity in all dealings.”
  3. Roll Up Your Sleeves:”Leadership isn’t about delegating tasks and sitting back. It’s about getting your hands dirty and showing your team that you’re willing to put in the hard work alongside them. Whether it’s troubleshooting a complex plumbing issue or assisting with administrative tasks, your willingness to pitch in fosters a culture of teamwork and dedication.”
  4. Continuous Learning: “Professionalism and work ethic are also about personal growth and development. Lead by example by demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning. Whether it’s staying updated on industry trends, attending workshops, or pursuing further education, show your team that growth is a priority.”
  5. Acknowledge and Reward: “Recognize and reward professionalism and exemplary work ethic within your team. Whether it’s a simple acknowledgment during team meetings or tangible rewards such as bonuses or extra time off, showing appreciation reinforces desired behaviors and motivates others to follow suit.”

“Leading by example isn’t just about being a boss; it’s about being a leader your team respects and admires. By embodying professionalism and work ethic in your actions every day, you not only elevate your own leadership but also inspire those around you to strive for excellence. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Thanks for tuning in to Built for the Trades. Until next time, keep leading by example!”

  • Set the tone
  • Clear communication
  • Roll up your sleeves
  • Continuous learning
  • Acknowledge and reward

If you found this video helpful, be sure to like and subscribe for more valuable insights on leadership in the trades industry. And remember, Leading By Example can go a long way in building a thriving business.

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