Most organizations have at least one person who is a natural leader. When this person offers to lead a new team, employees line up to join. When they ask for a assignment volunteers, people jump at the chance. These leaders are often considered mentors or role models. Others may struggle to do their job with too few human resources. So, how do natural leaders get people to go the extra mile for them?
Secret of Success Although many effective leaders are naturally charismatic, a number of leadership behaviors can be adopted by anyone who wants to find greater support from other people. While some leadership techniques may seem manipulative, a wise leader knows the best results come from having people willingly provide their support. Dwight D. Eisenhower once defined leadership as "the art of getting someone to do something you want done because he wants to do it."
People naturally want to follow a good leader. After meeting with an effective leader, it is not unusual to feel uplifted, inspired, and motivated to work towards a common goal. Effective leaders make others feel good about themselves--as well as the work they do. A real leader knows what to achieve and can communicate that vision to others in a way that makes people want to be part of it. Each employee can see how their particular role makes a contribution to the final result.
Good Role Models If a leader demonstrates a strong belief in something, it inspires others to work towards the leader's vision, even when a situation might appear to be almost hopeless. Lee Iacocca faced this situation when Chrysler's fortunes plummeted in the 1980s. He cut his own salary to $1 per year to prove his conviction that things would get better. They did: Under his leadership, Chrysler flourished.
Mark Victor Hansen, a successful motivational speaker and co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, has a unique perspective. Even in the early days of his career, he says, if someone asked how he was doing, he always responded that he was doing fabulously. His enthusiasm won him many supporters, and they helped turn his vision into reality.
Some people try to get support from others by telling them how grim the situation is, hoping that will make them want to help turn things around. Instead, they may just inspire people to start looking for another job--not work to improve the situation. If you have a tendency to be negative, but want to inspire others, focus on solutions rather than problems. If Plan A isn't working, avoid bemoaning the situation and instead come up with a Plan B. If necessary, have Plan C waiting in the wings. Maintain a can-do attitude and you are likely to attract people who will support you in achieving your goals.
Motivational Secrets Besides communicating an effective vision, good leaders know they need to offer individual rewards. Different people are motivated by different things. For those motivated by a need for achievement, a leader explains how the task offers an opportunity to take on a challenging but achievable goal. Those with a desire for power are told how their participation can bring prestige and greater opportunities. Employees motivated by affiliation need to feel like part of a team of people working together.
Effective leaders use clever techniques to communicate the importance of each team member, like remembering and using people's preferred names. As Dale Carnegie observed, "the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together." Keys to remembering names include paying attention when introduced to someone, mentally repeating the name, and using it in conversation often.
Good leaders introduce employees by name first, not job title. They refer to employees as team members, associates, or colleagues, not as subordinates. No distinction is made between "essential" and "non-essential" staff or "professional" and "non-professional" staff. Words have power, including the power to make people feel unimportant to the success of an organization.