Leaders of every organization grapple, at one time or another, with the question: How do we increase the commitment, passion, buy-in, and discretionary effort of our people?
The query itself begs a second question: What is required for a person to commit to something greater than self? The answer to these questions is rooted in two fundamental principles of human nature:
People do things for their reasons, not your reasons.
People do not care what you know until they know that you care.
What are those reasons? The highest need of a human being is the intense desire to have purpose, value, significance, be listened to and understood. Understanding these reasons, and acting upon them, will increase the personal influence of the leader and help gain the commitment desired.
A number of years ago a Team Trek participant, after completing a simulation with her team, made the statement: “I feel powerful!” I assumed she felt this way because of her individual accomplishment in completing the exercise. As I probed the comment further she expanded by saying, “I felt trusted, valuable, responsible, and committed to the success of the team”. She was talking not of her role as a point person in the exercise, but rather, her role as a support person in holding the safety line of a teammate.
Her passion, sense of belonging, and emotional connection had been triggered when she felt trusted and empowered to do her job. Her emotional exclamation, “I feel powerful!” says it all.
I have observed this happen many times and it has validated my belief that when a person feels included, as a valuable member in the process, and is trusted to do her job, the result will likely be the commitment, and discretionary effort desired.
The essence of leadership is articulating an inspired vision, and influencing others to follow. The two key words are vision and influence. This process includes:
Find trustworthy people
Remove untrustworthy people
Communicate clear and high expectations
Develop competencies and strengths
Communicate value and significance
Trust and let go of control
Hold them accountable for results
Coach and encourage when they fail
Push them back out there to try again
The sense of “feeling powerful” is generated by being trusted, valued, and included. And, when people feel personally powerful they are likely to commit to a purpose greater than self. This should be the objective of every leader!
Team Trek is a world-class provider of leadership training, team building, coaching and culture programs. Go to www.teamtrek.com/subscribe to receive the next Journal in your inbox.