Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S'well
Photograph by Patrick James Miller for Fortune
By Sarah Kauss
December 12, 2015

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What is the most important quality a leader should demonstrate?” is by Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S’well.

Being CEO of your own company is unlike any other leadership position. It’s up to you to shape how you want to bring the company to life: how you want it to evolve, expand, and define it’s mission. With a 40-person team, I’m responsible for keeping it all together — whether I’m having a good day or a bad one, whether I had a full eight hours of sleep or only two, and regardless if I’m losing my mind from a never-ending to-do list. As the leader of my own company, it’s my responsibility to exemplify the qualities I want to see in my employees: self-aware, self-motivated, and optimistic. Even though it’s a tall order, I work to lead by example daily and here’s what helps me do so:

Journaling
This practice has not only been vital to running my business, but critical to upholding all of the qualities I want my team to embrace. By taking time for careful reflection, leaders can assess their reactions to situations, the dynamics amongst the team, and the overall level of engagement as it relates to employee interactions and company morale.

See also: The One Quality That Defines Every Great Leader

Reality checks
My days can get pretty hectic trying to juggle so many roles, but I make a conscious effort not to burden my team with issues unrelated to them. This doesn’t mean I hide my feelings, but rather I’m transparent in a way that encourages a supportive environment. Let your employees know what’s going on so they can help balance the numerous demands of a growing company. Working together is the best way to get through the good times and the bad.

Mentorships
My parents owned their own company and I saw them treat their employees like family, with respect and kindness. I have tried to instill those same values at S’well and with our partners. Find a mentor that will help you become a more mindful leader and plan a roadmap for your career. Leading by example takes awareness and, at times, self-discipline. But when the pieces fall into place and we get it right as leaders, the payoffs are endless.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: What is the most important quality a leader should demonstrate?

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