Whether you’re a situational, transformational, servant, crisis management, or simply effective, leader, or maybe even you’re the one minute kind who likes to lead with speed… the real value in leadership is giving those you lead what they need. In other words, if you remember the old Burger King slogan, they want to have it their way. The why is fairly obvious as everyone likes to have things how they want them, but just how do you do that when you’re leading you and others and there are one or two other things you have to accomplish beyond figuring out what they need? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Be okay with it being about you
Ooooh, now that can’t be a popular statement, when every leadership text from Kouzes and Posner to Drucker and Dupree says being a leader isn’t about you. Well, hear me out. People follow leaders they like, respect, admire, see promise in, or see as someone who can help them get what they want or need, essentially. So, who you are and how you lead, matters. Not everyone will be okay with your leadership style, but many don’t even know what theirs is. The more time you spend working on you, figuring out you, and being comfortable with being you, what most call authenticity, the more comfortable you’ll be in temporarily deviating from that ‘home base’ to meet the needs of others. You won’t feel like you’re giving up who you are and you’ll be comfortable meeting them where they are.
Be okay with their differences
In Contagious Leadership I wrote a chapter entitled ‘Leaders value the opinions of others, even if they are vastly different than their own’. This goes way beyond just their opinions. Value their different approach, their alternative perspective, their unique work style, their competencies, their communication, their specific need for recognition, and their preference for motivation, as well as their personality. They want you to be the leader who “gets them”, but to do that you have to…well, GET them, so spend the time to understand how they are different, how that difference or unique ability fits within your team, and then develop the skills they DO have so they can feel confident about being a contributor.
Be okay when they don’t fit
I frequently watch leader’s motivations for behavior and what I often see is a lack of clarity about what they want and thus a settling for something they don’t want, but has simply become a habit. If you’re a leader and you want to be a better leader, develop a better team, and produce a higher level of results, become okay with the reality that not everyone will fit on the team you lead. Not everyone will respond well to your leadership style. Now don’t go out there making a mass of mini-me minions, but don’t take it personally when you’re way is not the way they need. Then seek to help those who don’t fit find a leader with whom they do. Yes, they want it their way. Yes, you’re way is important, too. The ideal scenario is that there would be a match there, but if there’s not, the best thing to do in most cases is not to settle, but to face it, fix it, act on it and create a win-win for everyone.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!