“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” - Steve Jobs
These are times that are challenging the very essence of who we are as people and as individuals. The US and world has become more than a melting pot for people of different cultures. The world economy has suffered over the past several months and so to have people in every corner of the world. Businesses have closed and many will never reopen. The small business person and entrepreneurs have been brought to their knees.
We admire the person with the “pull them up by their own bootstrap mentality” and while we admire them and may want to follow as they blaze the trail and lead the way, it doesn’t necessarily make them a good leader.
Leadership emerges in people in ways and forms that are not traditional in times like these and true leaders will inspire others to do the things they never thought possible.
Leadership is a lonely place especially in difficult times when others are so caught up in getting through one day at a time that they cannot see your vision let alone buy into it. Do you have the conviction to stand by your vision and your decisions when others will abandon you? Mountains have peaks because only a few can make the climb to get there and take in the view. The valley's are deep and wide and accommodate many.
If we go back to Steve Jobs quote “inspiring other to do things they never thought possible.” That is true leadership and in so doing brings out the best in people. How many people will you lift up, inspiring them to do more, go farther, and climb higher than they ever thought possible?
Leader is a title but leadership is a behavior. It’s the the execution of well thought out action. It’s communicating a clear Vision, seeing what needs to be done and doing it. When people trust that you will do the right thing and have their best interests and the interests of the organization at the forefront, then they are more likely to follow you into battle and charge up the hill with you without reservation.
The question is how do we inspire others and how can we ever expect to bring out their best, the best they have to offer? It has been said that the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror because you need to see where you are going and what’s behind you is in the past. That is true but the past though behind us holds the the lessons and the key that allows us to right the ship when it begins to drift. Lessons learned shine the light in the direction we need to go. Leadership is about learning those lessons well and using that experience to bring the organization and the people that serve it, to new and greater heights.
If you are at the helm in turbulent times, stay the course, but don’t be afraid to make adjustments, to tack ,and then swing back into the wind. Your team is looking to you not just for definitive answers but for confidence. you can make course corrections and the team will follow if you do so with conviction. No one wants to hear I’m pretty sure this is the way. Your confidence will breed confidence and performance in them. they will follow you because they believe you know the way and they trust you.
Stephen Covey said “ seek first to understand then to be understood” Leaders need to listen, gather information and be inclusive in the decision making process but in the end must make the decision.
Bringing out the best in people begins not with fanfare and charisma, it begins with trust. We naturally have a higher degree of trust for leaders who listen to us, who seek to understand.
Seeking to understand, demonstrating a clear vision, the conviction to say this is the way, and then taking action but not with blinders, knowing that staying the course is not holding a straight line no matter what, but is also the bravery to make the course corrections. It’s adapting to the winds of change so that you get to the desired destination with your organization intact and everyone on board. Bringing out the best in people is borne out of the trust that you as a leader with your leadership will inspire those that follow you to reach heights they never dreamed possible. It is that type of leadership that creates a new generation of great leaders.
The best thing that you can do for your organization and your people is to constantly strive to bring out those attributes that inspire them to perform at the highest level. It all begins with your leadership.
"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves". - William Arthur Ward