How to Be a Positive Male Role Model
is a big responsibility, especially when you’re a male. How can you set a great example for your peers without setting impossible expectations for yourself? Don’t worry–you’ve come to the right place. We’ve outlined plenty of simple qualities and characteristics associated with good role models, as well as easy ways to apply those traits in the moment. When the next workday rolls around, you’ll be able to put your best foot forward!
Role models have faith in their own capabilities without being arrogant. Being confident revolves around knowing your self-worth and your strengths, while arrogance centers on feelings of self-importance. Good role models know how to believe in themselves without putting themselves on a pedestal. Try:
Taking the lead on a project that matches your skillset
Politely correcting a co-worker when they share incorrect information
Bringing an idea to your boss or manager
Great role models are unapologetically themselves. Focus on the qualities that make you special–not what other people expect you to be. There will always be someone who doesn’t quite vibe with your way of doing things, and that’s okay! Being a good role model is all about answering to yourself, not to the people around you. You could:
Share a funny pun or corny joke with a peer
Wear your favorite outfit to work, even if it isn’t super stylish
Address your weaknesses.
Role models aren’t afraid to approach their weaknesses in a new way. Despite popular belief, a role model isn’t flawless and perfect at everything they do. Instead, they take steps to understand what their weak points are, and then work to improve themselves in the future. You might:
Ask a superior for advice on how to handle a tough project
Say “no” to new commitments if you already have a full schedule
Ask a tech-savvy co-worker to walk you through a feature in Photoshop
Respect everyone around you.
Respect earns you other people’s trust and admiration. A good role model makes an effort to empathize with their peers, care about their struggles, and treat others the way they’d like to be treated. Think of it this way–if your words or actions don’t meet the Golden Rule, then they probably aren’t what a role model would do. You could try:
Waiting for your turn to speak
Offering a helping hand
Apologizing if you mess up during a project
Thanking someone for their time
Prioritize good communication.
Good role models know how to talk to their teammates. They’ll share feedback directly, email a peer when they need something, and say exactly what’s on their mind. A poor role model, on the other hand, might communicate passive-aggressively, or force their co-workers to read between the lines instead of just being direct. Here are some ways you can make the most out of your own communication:
Practice active listening skills
Sit or stand with a relaxed, open posture
Compliment someone on a job well done
Share constructive feedback.
Role models give their peers plenty of opportunities to improve. Take a moment to acknowledge how hard your teammate has worked, and let them know how they can make their next draft or revision even stronger. Keep your tone clear, kind, and direct, so your peer completely understands how to do an even better job in the future. You might say:
“I appreciate all the hard work you put into this draft. Would you mind giving it another read-through for small errors and typos?”
“Your eye contact felt a bit spotty during the presentation. I totally get where you’re coming from–I find that it helps to look at different people when I’m speaking to a crowd.”
Push yourself to keep learning.
A true role model always wants to improve and is never satisfied with complacency. Pay close attention to both your peers and superiors and see how they do things. Is there anything you can learn from them? Is there any way you can apply their skills and work ethic to your own? The more you’re willing to learn and grow, the more of a role model you’ll be to the people around you.
If you’d really like to go the extra mile, enroll in a class or degree program that’s related to your career path.
You might practice using a difficult piece of software over the weekend so you feel more comfortable with it during the workweek.
Admit when you do something wrong.
Role models embrace transparency, not perfection. Own any mistakes that you made and take responsibility for any of the aftermath. Honesty and accountability are way more important than having a perfect track record. Try saying:
“I completely underestimated how long that task was going to take. I’m so sorry for making you wait!”
“I’m really sorry, guys. This one’s on me.”
“I take full responsibility for what happened here. You have every right to be upset.”
Set high goals.
True role models expect great things from both themselves and their peers. Remind your teammates that they’re capable of really great things, and they can accomplish just about anything if they put their minds to it. Here are a few ideas:
“I’m hoping to finish this assignment by the end of the week.”
“It would be great if we could submit this project by next Wednesday.”
“I know that we can get this done by the deadline.”
Make sure that your goals are still manageable, though! Always be honest with yourself about what you’re able to complete in a given timeframe.
Live life with integrity.
A good role model thrives on fairness and honesty. Treat everyone equally, and don’t give out special favors to a certain handful of people. Your peers are more likely to look up to you if you give everyone the same opportunities. If you notice someone acting or behaving unfairly, don’t be afraid to call them out, either! True integrity involves holding everyone accountable, including yourself.
For example, don’t offer to proofread one co-worker’s writing but refuse to help another. Instead, wait until you have enough time to help multiple people at once.
Don’t tell one co-worker about a cool new work opportunity but leave your other, equally-qualified teammate in the dark.
Carry your weight.
Role models always work as a team and never leave their work to someone else. Always offer to do your fair share of the work during a group assignment or project, and make sure that everyone else is pulling their weight, too. The more reliable and dependable you are, the more your peers will look up to you further down the line.
For instance, you might finish your assignment for a group project several days before the deadline instead of waiting until the last second.
Enjoy your day-to-day work.
Role models embrace their job even when things are slow. They aren’t counting down the hours until they leave for the day; instead, they make the most of every minute they’re at work until it’s time to clock out. This doesn’t mean that you have to love every aspect of your job, though! Just focus on the aspects of your work that you like the most, and get your enjoyment from there.
Enjoying your job actually helps you get more satisfaction in the long run.
Try breaking down tasks into manageable chunks, and then completing each manageable chunk before moving onto the next one. This might help you feel more productive and in-the-zone during the workday!
Approach life with optimism.
Optimism offers more opportunities for growth than pessimism. Being a good role model is all about learning how to roll with the punches and make the best out of a bad situation. Focus on resiliency instead of negativity–your peers will appreciative the positivity, and may even take a page out of your book. Try approaching a negative situation one of these ways:
“It stinks that we didn’t meet our monthly goal, but now we’re ahead of the game for the next month!”
“We might not have made as much money as we hoped, but now we can make a more targeted marketing strategy toward our customers.”
Welcome new ideas.
A good role model trusts their team’s innovations. Embrace good ideas as you hear them, and encourage your teammates to make them into a reality. Believing and trusting in the people around you is actually a key part of being a role model. You could say:
“That’s a fantastic idea, Jenn. I really think you should bring that up at the next team meeting!”
“I love that idea, Markus. How about you give it a try for a week or so and let me know how things are going?”