In the first of three parts, Shay McConnon analyses what it takes to be a leader of worth.
The secret to your leadership success is not written in this article, it is not in seminars, books or audio programmes. It is locked away in your people, in their minds and hearts. To access this information you need to talk to your people, get to understand their criteria and then connect.
It seems we cannot universalise on what makes a good leader, on why minds and hearts are won. Leadership, it would appear, is person specific. What is critical to one person will not be for another. Some people are turned off by the outgoing, dynamic, high energy, charismatic style of leadership. There are 'quiet' leaders in the workplace who have genuine followers making real differences.
The most effective style of leadership would appear to be related to the personalities and needs of the people being led. People follow because their criteria are met. Leaders need to measure themselves against the criteria of their people rather than the textbook or the expert criteria. Successful leaders know the criteria of their people. They have fluency and flexibility in their leadership style. They individualise rather than universalise.
Management and leadership
You manage systems, budgets, and time, but you lead people. Leadership is about the people side of things. It is about rapport, communication, loyalty, trust, helping people believe in themselves and inspiring them to higher levels of performance. Leaders need to understand people and the dynamics of behaviour. They need to understand what motivates people and how they can be inspired, excited and moved to action.
We are dramatically different
The single biggest mistake people - and hence leaders - make in their relationships is to assume that people are like them, have similar needs and values and would like to be treated as they would. People are dramatically different, so different; it is as if they are from different planets. The criteria for winning minds and hearts can differ widely from person to person.
As early as the fifth century BC, Hippocrates described groups of human characteristics, each cluster very different yet equally valuable in its own way. There have been many variations and developments of these fundamental groupings over the years.
For the purposes of this article, I will describe three basic personality types - carers, doers, and thinkers. People will have a mixture of these motivations which in turn explains how they need to be treated.
They value caring over achieving or getting things right. They are thoughtful, loyal, generous people who like to be accommodating. Usually they are good listeners and show a genuine interest in other people and their issues. They don't like conflict and work hard at keeping harmony in the team.
Expect them to want a personal relationship with you and to value you for who you are.
Leaders recognise the values that drive such behaviours will centre around partnership, teamwork, two-way communication, sincerity and harmony.
Leaders need to appeal to these values if they are to inspire action and get business results.
Typically, these people will want their hearts won, not their minds. The leader wins their hearts by his humanity and approachability. They need a leader to be friendly, likeable, supportive, empathetic and thoughtful - someone who remembers the little things. In this way the heart is won, loyalty grows and action inspired.
They will find it hard to respect someone who is arrogant, pushy, bossy, selfish, sarcastic, anyone who excludes them or abuses their generosity. They feel particularly valued with opportunities to genuinely help others, when their support is recognised and when working for someone who is thoughtful.
They value achieving over caring or getting things right. These are assertive, high energy, no nonsense type of people who love to achieve and get things done. They usually have little time for small talk and like to get straight down to the business in hand. They like their information concise, 'one-minute manager' style. Bullet points and summaries often characterise this style. They don't appreciate their time being wasted.
Expect them to want a functional relationship with you and to value you for what you can do.
Leaders recognise the values that drive such behaviours will centre on achievement, success, competence, efficiency, speed, status and winning. Leaders appeal to these values to inspire, motivate and persuade.
Doers typically need both their minds and hearts won. They need someone driving forward with passion. They will follow a leader who has an exciting vision, someone who is dynamic, future orientated and achievement driven. They will find it hard to respect someone who is complacent, talks problems, wastes time or makes excuses. They feel particularly valued when asked to trouble shoot, to achieve against the odds, to meet difficult challenges and when given responsibility.
Getting things right is more important to them than caring or being successful. They are fair, principled and usually risk averse. They tend to be prudent and would prefer not to make a decision than make a wrong one. They are the perfectionists of our world and are usually thorough in whatever they do.
Expect them to want an intellectual relationship with you and to value you for how much you know.
Leaders recognise the values that drive such behaviours will centre on quality, integrity, logic, accuracy and independence. Leaders link to these values when they need to influence, persuade and get rapport. Typically these people will want their minds won, not their hearts. Their minds are won by the leader's principles, integrity, accuracy and attention to detail.
They need a leader to be prudent, someone who respects systems and procedures and is concerned about standards. They will find it hard to respect someone who is frivolous, ignores the problems, exaggerates, is over familiar, someone who insists the deadline is met at the expense of quality.
They feel particularly valued with opportunities to increase their knowledge base, when they can do the job properly and when they are given problems to solve. While some people do fall cleanly into one of these categories, many of us have combinations of these motivations. The criteria for winning minds and hearts will reflect these mixed values.
Shay McConnon is an inspirational, entertaining speaker with a powerful business message. He is a leading authority on leadership and culture issues and he has developed a unique blend of magic, humour and common sense in his keynote presentations. He is the founder of McConnon International Ltd, an international Consultancy group that specialises in creating winning relationships in the workplace. He is the creator of "An Even Better Place to WorkTM". He is the author of 17 books on personal development. His latest, Resolving Conflict, has been published in nine different languages