Archive for November, 2010
This short article will show you why taking delight in the people you lead is a powerful, albeit seldom used, leadership tool. However, delight should be manifested only when three principles are put into play.
Leadership entails getting results, and getting results entails human relationships. The more closely the people and the leader bond, the more results will usually accrue.
However, most leaders and the people they lead look at those relationships as a one-way street: charismatic leaders being commonly defined by sentiments bestowed on them from the people. But great leadership is really a two-way street, also involving sentiments going from the leader to the people…
We never know how good we are as leaders until we are delighting in the people we lead and, through that delight, leading them to get continually better results while they become continually better as leaders and as people.
To use this tool properly, three things must be kept in mind.
1. Delight must happen within the context of high results-expectations. In your delight, don’t be hampered by the bigotry of low expectations. Delight in your people not just for what they want to do but what you challenge them to do. After all, leadership is not about having people do what they already want to do. If they already did what they wanted, you wouldn’t be needed as a leader. Leadership is about having people do what they may not want or feel able to do and be committed to doing it.
2. Delight must be truthful. Don’t try to manipulate people through your delight. When the circumstances call for it, you must be able to be brutally honest. Honesty is a leadership lesson: have people see themselves as they should and need to be seen, not as they want to be seen. If your honesty helps your people become better at what they do, it is eventually accepted and even welcomed.
3. Delight must be practical. Always link the delight you find in your people with lessons learned in accomplishing jobs, missions and best practices that came from the lessons. Your delight isn’t meant to have people feel good about themselves alone but to motivate them to take actions to be continually better. In that striving to be better and, getting better in the striving, you and your people will bond. Clearly, there will be challenges along the way; but through it all, there is, in the back of most minds at least, the compulsion not to let a good leader down — and not to let each other down.
You may not have thought about delight as a leadership tool, but it is one of the most effective because it goes right to the heart of getting results through the strengthening of right relationships. Keep these three factors in mind when expressing your delight, and your leadership will be blessed daily with new opportunities.
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