By Antoni

How to not lead with fruit baskets and business class.

In 2001, the telecom industry was in deep crisis. Over a period of three years, the company I was working at was to lay off half its 110,000 employees. Amputation was the only way for the company to survive. Those were tough times.

Removal of Fruit Baskets

We used to have fruit baskets in every department. They were removed. It was to some extent a symbolic act, but we got the message. Also, no trips were allowed except the absolutely necessary ones. We got that message too.

But then two things happened in a short time that irritated us employees. First, we discovered that the fruit baskets on the executive floor were still there. Strange. Shouldn’t we all pull our weight? Did they need fruit more than we did because their thoughts required more energy than ours?

Fly to France

Then several of us were assigned to fly to France and work in an important trade show. Of course, we booked tickets in economy class. But as we stepped onto the plane, some of the higher managers sat in business class at the front of the plane. We were surprised. Didn’t we have a crisis in the company? The managers quickly got very busy reading something on their computers or the menus from their seat pockets. No one looked at us as we paraded down to coach. They knew that we knew, and they were embarrassed. At the same time, staff were being layed off. It all felt absurd…

remember: EVERYTHING COMMUNICATES – all the time

And if you are the boss, you will communicate on a higher volume

How do you do to lead by example? What are your blind spots/fruit baskets/business class tickets?

Team Antoni Explains

The Leading by example is an essential part of effective leadership. As a leader, it is important to be mindful of the messages you are sending to your team through your actions, particularly during times of crisis.

Moreover, This story highlights the importance of leading by example and the impact that every action can have on employee morale and company culture. As a leader, it’s important to be aware of your own blind spots and to examine your own behavior to ensure that you’re sending the right message.

Here are some tips on how to lead by example and avoid the “fruit basket” and “business class” pitfalls:

Be consistent:

Consistency is key to effective leadership. Make sure that your actions align with your words, and that you’re modeling the behavior you want to see in your team.

Be transparent:

In time of crisis, it’s important to be honest and transparent with your team. Share information about the company’s situation and explain why certain decisions are being made. This can help to build trust and loyalty among your employees.

Be willing to make sacrifices:

As a leader, you may need to make sacrifices in order to set an example for your team. This could mean taking a pay cut, giving up perks like a company car or a fancy office, or traveling in economy class instead of business class.

Show appreciation:

Don’t forget to recognize and appreciate the hard work of your employees. Small gestures like a handwritten note or a public shout-out can go a long way in boosting morale and showing that you value their contributions.

Take responsibility:

If you make a mistake or a misstep, own up to it and take responsibility. As a result, This shows your team that you’re accountable and that you’re committed to learning and growing as a leader.


Leading by example is essential for effective leadership, particularly during times of crisis.

So, being consistent transparent, willing to make sacrifices, showing appreciation, and taking responsibility, you can set a positive example for your team and build a strong company culture. Remember, everything communicates – all the time.

As a leader, you are communicating on a higher volume, so be mindful of the messages you’re sending through your actions. Thanks for reading.

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