What Do Leaders Do?
Get over it! People who work for you are not you. They don’t think like you and they work differently than you. And just because you pay them a good salary doesn’t mean they’re going to work their fannies off the same way you do. To get them to follow your vision and achieve big goals, you’ve got to give them a reason to want to follow. People are motivated for their reasons, not yours. It is the leader’s job to discover what makes each person tick to do his best and produce outstanding results.
Do they want to do it?
Leadership is really about influencing others to want to do what you want them to do. The key words are “want to do.” They have to want to do it.
Ask yourself, “What makes people want to follow me?” You know what doesn’t work: confusion, lack of trust, no integrity, no accountability and no consequences. A lot of managers say, “My people won’t do what I want them to do. I should get rid of them, but I can’t afford them to leave, so I don’t fire them.” What kind of accountability is this? If they don’t have to do what you want them to do, why should they do more than the minimum to keep their jobs? You’ve got to make them want to do it.
What people need
People need two things: money and happiness. Money includes fair pay at a secure company with competitive benefits. Happiness is the same as being motivated. Leaders motivate people to want to do what they want them to do. This is accomplished with exciting leadership, motivation, vision and direction, holding people accountable, and giving them responsibility. The leader is responsible to encourage and motivate others to put out more energy and effort, with more enthusiasm, so they’ll go beyond where you want them to go. There are four action steps leaders take to achieve bottom-line results through people.
1. Clear expectations
People need to know exactly what you want them to achieve – the expected specific results. Weak leaders assume people understand what’s required, don’t take the time to spell out what they want, and don’t make people accountable for results. The norm is to tell people to work real hard and try their best. But, this doesn’t let people know exactly what’s expected. Be specific with clear targets and exact results clearly defined. Assure people understand what the target is, what’s acceptable and what’s not, when they hit or miss it, the consequences for not achieving results, and the rewards for a good job.
2. Recognition and praise
Leaders provide ongoing recognition and praise to people who do the work. Weak leaders, who don’t take time to thank people for a job well done, get weak results. In a survey of why people left their company, more than 90 percent said they’d never been recognized or praised by their boss, ever, for anything. People want and need feedback and positive reinforcement for their contributions and efforts. Leaders give praises at least every week to everyone in their sphere of influence. Use phrases like, “I appreciate you” and “Thanks for a great job.”
3. The big picture
Employees need a clear understanding of the big picture and how they fit in. Leaders share where the company is going – its vision, future, positives and negatives, and changes required to be successful. People need to know; otherwise, they tend to think the worst. Several times a month, I present seminars to managers who come up with great ideas to build and improve their businesses. When they go back to their offices the next day, their people are often afraid they’ve been scheming how to squeeze them to work harder. That’s not reality, but without information, people fear the worst. Leaders constantly tell the real deal: Business is good or bad, sales are up or down, productivity is acceptable or not, people are doing a good job or aren’t, and the profit picture.
4. Show you care
Leaders let their people know they care about them as individuals. People need to know you appreciate them: You care about their goals, their futures, their kids, and their families. People must know they’re important, and their needs and wants will be considered as they contribute to the entire organization’s success.
Use these four leadership action steps to get the results you want. Leadership is simple. The hard part of leadership is to do what you know you should do every day.
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