With all that’s written every year about leadership you’d think it was pretty complicated. I don’t think so. I think it’s pretty simple – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
You want people to follow you? Really follow you? Jump off the bridge follow you? That kind of thing? Then you need to do three things.
First, inspire them.
Take them, in their minds, where they’ve never been before. Yep – the vision thing. Make them see what’s possible, just beyond the bend in the road, just over the horizon. Create a compelling picture of a future that feeds their yearning for something great.
As John Kennedy said, “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
Second, challenge them.
Set the bar high. Challenge them to exceed their own expectations. Again, John Kennedy’s words (on the challenge to put a man on the moon): “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
Third, believe in them.
See the best in your people. See the possibilities, the talent, the perseverance, the effort. W. Clement Stone said, “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”
How do they get a positive attitude? In part, by having someone believe in them. And one way to demonstrate that, as Ken Blanchard suggested, is to “Catch ‘em doing something right.”
Believe in your people, and they will believe in you.
I said it was simple, but not necessarily easy. In future posts I’ll talk about how to inspire, how to challenge, and how to see the best in your people.