The Right People
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Great leaders surround themselves with great and skillful people. Jim
Collins, author of Good to Great, and his team researched what it takes for
organizations to achieve greatness. He identified great companies and found that
they all had the same kind of leadership. These leaders were usually humble, yet
passionate about the business they were in. Unlike many of the celebrity CEO's
of today, they were ambitious for their organization to succeed, rather than
ambitious for themselves.
They focused their organizations on a combination of what they were
passionate about doing, what they were good at doing, and what would drive their
economic engine (sustain and/or make profitable).
Collins states that one of the first things these leaders do is to surround
themselves with the right people. Instead of spending time and money on
motivational incentives, they find people who are already motivated. In other
words, they recognize that true motivation comes from within.
I have met many leaders who feel "stuck" with individuals who are not
motivated to deliver the value that is needed. Most leaders do not have the
luxury of bringing in new people. Quite often, you have to work with who you
have. If people aren't performing, you usually have to give them a chance. If
over time, they do not improve, you may be able to let them go. Yet, it does not
serve you or your organization to focus your energy on "How do I get rid of this
Leadership is about helping others to find their own internal motivation. The
question is not: "How do we get this person to do the work?" The questions are:
"What can this person be passionate about? What are his best talents and how can
those talents be used best in this organization?" As leaders, we should want for
every person in our care to be excited about getting up in the morning and
coming to work. If we can help them find this, we won't have to motivate them.
People are motivated by meaning. Leaders create meaning where none seems
apparent. At the very least, someone benefits from whatever work you are doing.
That is cause for meaning. Enjoying your work is cause for meaning. Being
skillful at what you do is cause for meaning. Honest, caring relationships are
cause for meaning. Promoting growth and improvement through ongoing feedback,
high expectations, and reasonable learning curves creates meaning.
It is easy to focus our attention on where people fall short, and on what's
wrong. This focus on things going wrong reinforces problems. Great leaders are
able to spot and develop talent. They see what someone can do and they believe
in it. They believe in it so strongly that the person is inspired to believe in
himself. Having a strong belief in one's self is meaningful.
Another effective question to ask is: "What barriers have been created that
stifle the passion and skill of these people?" Often there are rules and ways of
doing things that get in the way of the full expression of talents. For example,
an employee knows how to solve problems for customers, but she must ask
permission from a manager each time an incident occurs. Trusting her to function
as a responsible adult would give more meaning to her in her job and better
service to customers.
The "right" person is inside of everyone. It is the responsibility of a
leader to help people find that person within themselves. If they can't find
that internal motivation where they presently are, then you help them go
somewhere else where they can.
Creating a self motivated group of people takes time and patience. It takes
self reflection on the part of leaders, and the willingness to discipline one's
thinking and behavior. Great leaders are passionate about their business and
skillful at producing their products or services. Today's leader must also be
passionate about bringing forth meaning and self motivation in each and every
person who works in the organization.
About the Author
William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach, and the author of three
books including Beyond Blaming: Unleashing Power and Passion in People and
Organizations. William offers an online leadership class, The Leaders' Edge,
that is both inexpensive and effective. This ten week class helps leaders to
transcend ego issues and become truly great at what they do. Register at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-25 21:12:05 in Employee Articles