Great business leaders are defined as those who:
“… create and maintain a work environment where people are emotionally and intellectually committed to the organization’s goals; build an energetic and positive attitude in others and inspire them to do their very best; and in doing so create a common sense of purpose where people are more inclined to invest extra energy and even some of their own time in their work.” (taken from ‘Leadership Charisma’)
Great leadership is all about getting results. No leadership – no results. No results – no leadership.
The greatest leaders share two attitudes in common:
1. Great leaders view everything through other’s eyes
This is not as cynical as it might sound, but when you strip away all of the niceties, all the layers of ‘proper’ behaviour that define the way we act and interact with others, all the social norms and so on, self-interest tends to inform most of what we do.
Before doing anything asked of them, even the most altruistic, at least unconsciously, ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ (WIIFM?). And if the answer is ‘nothing’ then they generally don’t do what’s asked unless they’re coerced into it.
Great leaders know this – and it informs everything they do. They know that to get people engaged they have to answer the WIIFM question – they have to present everything they require of their people in terms of what’s in it for them.
Think of any situation where an individual is considered charismatic or engaging by any group and you’ll see how she or he is, to some extent, giving them what they want or need at that point in time.
The message? You must know each of your team members well enough to be able to show them what they stand to gain by helping you achieve your goals and objectives. For each be sure that you know:
- What are their strengths?
- What are their development needs?
- What goals do they have for themselves?
- What does success look like for them?
- What are their family circumstances?
- What are their passionate interests?
- What will they learn / how will they become more valuable helping you to achieve your vision?
…then use this knowledge to focus upon communicating to each of them what is in it for them personally if you, the department or the organization achieve their goals. Make it personal.
2. Great leaders focus on being a positive force
We all share a fundamental and universal human need – the need to feel positive about ourselves and our situations.
The extent to which you are an engaging leader is directly proportional to the extent to which people either feel or do better after each interaction with you.
Make a positive difference in the way a team member feels or does after each time they deal with you and, for them, you become charismatic and engaging. It doesn’t matter whether they walk away feeling more positive and better about themselves because you recognized when they did a great job, because your enthusiasm lifted their spirits, because you shared your expertise and made their jobs easier, because your positivity inspired them, or because you demonstrated your belief in their ability to achieve extraordinary results.
Recent research shows that to be effective leaders must strive to create an environment where positive experiences outstrip negative experiences by a ratio of 6:1.
Great leaders recognize, often intuitively, the need to continually invest in the positivity of each member of their team – and it is this investment that pays off in the extraordinary results they achieve from more highly engaged teams.
Some leaders have these two attitudes intuitively – they naturally view the world through the eyes of their people and even more naturally create a positive relationship with every member of their teams. The rest of us have to cultivate them through everyday practice of the behaviors that demonstrate and develop these attitudes.
Change your behaviors so that you begin to cultivate these two great leader attitudes and watch the results you achieve soar.