A lot of people throughout the world don’t understand what leadership is. It is not the same as management. It is not a job position or title. It is a way of living.
Taking action on the leadership principles you are learning or have learned in the past is not easy at all.
A person may interpret one principle one way, and a different person may interpret the same principle in a completely different way.
The leadership principles you read in my articles and other materials and other people’s leadership books may come across as simple, but they are very difficult to take action on and make a success of.
Different people have different values and different ways of looking at the world. When you are trying to build a relationship and build trust with one of your team, it is possible that you are creating distrust with another member of your team.
With living and breathing different values, you could be looking at something in a positive way and I could be looking at it in a negative way. There is no right or wrong to this, it is just how we as humans are.
When I was a shift manager in Scotland in 2011, I found it an extremely difficult job. It was rewarding when things went well, and tough when things went wrong. The teams I led on shift had mixed views of us as shift managers.
I could be at a start of work brief, and when the team saw me, I could tell some were happy to see me, and others couldn’t wait for me to leave. There was a lot of rolling of eyes and whispering about me going on. But there were some smiles and “good morning, Tom” remarks too.
Reflecting on that time, the people who wished I wasn’t at the start of work brief didn’t trust me, and we had different values. The people who did want me there did trust me and we shared the same values.
The people who didn’t share the same values as me and rolled their eyes at me didn’t feel motivated, they felt like I was manipulating them into doing things they didn’t want to do.
The people who smiled at me, said “Good Morning, Tom” felt motivated by my presence and were looking forward to getting their work done.
To increase our influence with our people then we must have a strong relationship and trust with them. If we don’t have trust with a person, then it is impossible to influence them in a positive way.
Trust is the foundation of leadership and influence, and we must focus on two areas to make this happen: character and competency. We must focus on competency 20% of the time and we must focus on character 80% of the time.
Increasing our influence gets more complicated. How people make us feel is a decision we make; it doesn’t just happen to us. Just like when we take offence to something, we have decided to take offence.
If a person feels that they are not receiving any benefit from our intention with them, they will feel manipulated by us. If a person feels that they are receiving a benefit from our intention with them, they will feel motivated.
Our intention with another person will either motivate or manipulate them. Intention is the foundation of trust.
Our relationships with other people have always been complicated. Think of the relationships you have with your friends and family, they haven’t always been easy, have they? I know my relationships haven’t always been easy with my friends and family.
So, as a leader we should expect the same with the relationships we have with our team and colleagues. Whenever we interact with different people, it is going to be different each time. The reason for that is because every person throughout the world is different.
Some of us have a strong character, some of have a weak character. Some of us are strong in the areas where others are weak. We have different dreams to each other. We fear different things. Our personal and professional goals are different.
The experiences we have throughout our lives are all different. How each of us see the world is different. What we all believe in is different. With all these differences and more, this is what makes increasing our influence complicated.
All humans are very unique beings with their own ways of living. But, to make things even more complicated, we are very similar too.
I am a student of leadership and I love to talk, write, create videos, coach, and lead people. I feel leadership and sharing it with people is my calling in life.
There are so many other people throughout the world who have similar values to me and they are students of leadership too. Leadership for us is a lifelong journey and I will study it for the rest of my life.
You are reading this article and trying to improve yourself in your leadership development. The next steps for you once you’ve read and understood this article is to take action and share what you have learned with your people.
4. Take Action
You are developing yourself into a highly effective leader, so that you can help develop your team into highly effective leaders.
We lead and influence people because they have thoughts and feelings. We manage policies, procedures, processes and things because they don’t have thoughts and feelings.
If you don’t take action and share what you learn with your people, then there is no way you can build them into a highly effective team. You must do your best to inspire your team to share the same values as you because you are their leader.
You must do your best to inspire your team to buy-in to your vision for them, and for them to share that vision with others. You must increase your influence with your team, so they can increase their influence and multiply yours.
If you cannot do these things following your digestion of the leadership principles you are learning in my articles, there will still be a lot of disappointment in your team. The team won’t trust you or each other. The culture within the team will become toxic, and even a blame culture may build.
It is important you share the leadership principles you are learning with your team first. You must inspire your team to feel the same way about these principles as you do. Sharing the same feelings on leadership principles will grow a highly effective leadership culture.
When the whole team understands these principles, you can then take action on them. You cannot take action on a leadership principle if you don’t believe in it.
As I stated earlier, leadership and increasing your influence is very difficult.
When you did mathematics or science in school, some people found those subjects easier than other people. But, it took a lot of knowledge sharing and practice to become good at it.
The same goes when sharing these leadership principles with your team. It will take knowledge sharing, believing in what you are sharing and then taking action or practice.
Our ability to think and change how we think is never ending. We all think in different ways, and we all think in similar ways. We all believe in different things, and we all believe in similar things. To inspire somebody to think and believe in something similar to you is not easy, but it is by no means impossible. Highly effective leaders have a limitless mindset, and work on themselves every day. Can you help your people to grow a similar limitless mindset to you?
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,