For several years as a business consultant l have developed people under my leadership, l have coached and observed others who excelled in the ability to lead. I have discovered that there are three areas in which successful people – developer are different from those how do not effectively handle this skill well.
- Making the right assumptions about people
- Asking the right questions about people
- Giving the right assistance to people
Making the Right Assumptions about People
Motivating others has always been one of my personal strengths. Over the years working with business owners many would ask me “Linda how do you motivate people?”. My answer to this usually came up as “stay enthusiastic” “encourage others “ lead the way” “believe in people”
I would watch others follow this advice and only be successful for a short period of time; only to fall back into the old patterns of behavior. Then one day it hit me l was giving them the fruit of my motivational gifts, but not the root. The root of my motivation is in my assumptions about others. My assumptions about others are what allow me to continually motivate and develop them. In fact, a leader having the right assumptions about people is the key factor in their continual development.
What kind of assumptions do you have about your people? What do you assume they need or want? What are their motivations?
An assumption is an opinion that something is true. My assumption about people largely determines how l treat them. Why? What l assume about others is what l look for. What l look for is what l find. What l find influences my response. Here are a few assumptions about people that l have found to be extremely valuable.
Everyone wants to feel worthwhile
The most successful teachers, manager’s philosophers, and leaders know this simple fact: Every person in the world is hungry. Yes, every person in this world is hungry for something, be it recognition, companionship, understanding, love – the list well it is endless. One thing l always find on a list is the need to feel worthwhile. People want to feel important!
How are you feeding your team’s need for significance?
Everyone needs and responds to encouragement
In my years developing people, l have yet to find a person who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.
Do you have a spirit of criticism or a spirit of approval?
Monitor how often you criticize compared to how often you compliment.
People “Buy into” the leadership before they “buy into” his or her leadership
Too often we expect people to be loyal to the position of a leader instead of to the person who occupies that position. Organizational charts do not motivate people. People respond to other people. The first thing a leader must declare is not authority because of rights, but authority because of relationships. People do not care how much you know until they know that you care. If people believe in their leadership, nothing will stop them.
How can you show your people that you care about them?
Most People Do Not Know How To Be Successful
Most people think success is luck, and they keep trying to win the lottery of life. But success is really the results of planning. Most people think success is instantaneous. They look at it as a moment, an event, or a place in time. It’s not. Success is really a process. Most people think that success is learning how to never fail. But that’s not true…Success is learning from failure.
Asking the Right Questions about People
Sometimes, before we can make accurate and positive assumptions about people, we need to ask the right questions about ourselves.
Am l building people or am l building my dream and using people to do it?
Answering this question will help you discover your motives as a leader.
There is a slight but significant difference between manipulation and motivation:
Manipulation is moving together to my advantage. Motivation is moving together for mutual advantage.
Do l care enough to confront people when it will make a difference?
Confrontation is very difficult for most people. If you feel uneasy just reading the word confront, I’d like to suggest that you substitute the word Clarify. Clarify the issue instead of confronting the person. Once you have decided to ‘Clarify” an issue with someone, follow these ten commandments
1) Do it privately, not publicly.
2) Do it as soon as possible. That is more than waiting a long time.
3) Speak to the one issue at a time. Don’t overload the person with a long list of issues.
4) Once you’ve made a point. Don’t keep repeating it.
5) Deal only with actions the person can change. If you ask the person to do something he or she is unable to do, frustration builds in your relationship.
6) Avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm signals that you are angry at people, not at their actions, and may cause them to resent you.
7) Avoid words like always and never. They usually detract from accuracy and make people defensive.
8) Present criticisms as suggestions or questions if possible.
9) Don’t apologize for the confrontational meetings. Doing so detracts from it and may indicate you are not sure you had the right to say what you did.
10) Don’t forget the compliments. Use what l call the “sandwich” in these types of meetings; Compliment – Confront – Compliment.
Am l listening to people with more than my ears; am l hearing more than words?
This is a test. Give yourself four points if the answer to the following questions is always: three points for Usually; Two for Rarely; and One for Never.
__ Do l allow the speaker to finish without interrupting?
__Do l listen “between the lines:; that is, for the subtext?
__When writing a message, do l listen for and write down the key facts and phrases?
__Do l repeat what the person just said to clarify the meaning?
__Do l avoid getting hostile and/or agitated when l disagree with the speaker?
__Do l tune out distractions when listening?
__Do l make an effort to seem interested in what the other person is saying?
26 of higher; You are an excellent listener
22-25: Better than average score
18-21: Room for improvement
17 or lower: get out there right away and practice your listening!
Do l know the major strengths of this individual?
Anyone who continually has to work in areas of personal weakness instead of personal strength will not stay motivated. If individuals have been grinding away at tasks assigned to their weak areas and you reassign them to work in areas of strength, you’ll see a dramatic increase in natural motivation
Have l placed a high priority on the job?
People tend to stay motivated when they see the importance of the things they are asked to do. The five most encouraging words in an organization are:” It will make a difference”
Have l shown the value the person will receive from this relationship?
People tend to stay motivated when they see the value to them of the things they are asked to do. The simple fact is when we hear an announcement, see a commercial, or are asked to make a commitment, a small voice in the back of our minds asks. “What is in it for me?”
Giving the Right Assistance to People
Successful people-developers give the right assistance to their people. I need to work out their strengths and work on their weakness
Some of the most capable people in a company never utilize their greatest strengths. They may be locked into what management considers important jobs. and they may do them well. But they may never get an opportunity to do what they can do best When that happens, everyone loses. The person loses because of lack of opportunity and lack of job satisfaction; the organization loses because it wastes some of its most valuable assets. The whole venture operates at less than capacity.
Can you think of any worker under your leadership who seems to be less fruitful than he could be?
I must give them myself
You can impress people at a distance but you can impact them only up close!
1) List all the people you spent 30 min with this week.
2) Did you initiate the time, or did they?
3) Did you have an agenda for the meeting?
4) Was the meeting for the purpose of relationship, communication or development?
5) Was it a win-win meeting?
6) Was it with the influential top 20 percent or the lower 80 percent?
Love everyone, but give yourself to the top 20 percent in your organization. Encourage the many; mentor the few. Be transparent with them. Develop a plan for their growth. Become a team.
I must give ownership
People participate more and take more responsibility when they have ownership of a task or project.
As Sidney J. Harris believes:
People want to be appreciated, not impressed. They want to be regarded as human beings, Not as sounding boards for other peoples egos. They want to be treated as an end in themselves, not as a means towards the gratification of another vanity.
I must give them every chance for success
My responsibility as a leader is to provide assistance for those who work with me by giving them;
- An excellent atmosphere to work in. It should be positive, warm, open, creative, and encouraging.
- The right tools to work with. Do not hire excellent people to do excellent work with average tools.
- A continual training program to work under. Growing employees make growing companies.
- Excellent people to work for. Develop a team. Coming together is the beginning .orking together is success.
- A compelling vision to work toward. Allowing your people to work for something larger than themselves.
Great leaders always give their people a head start over those who work under an average leader. Excellent leaders add value toothier people and help them become better than they would be if they worked alone. The first question a leader should ask is “ How can l help make those around me more successful! When that answer is found and implemented, everyone wins.
John C. Maxwell