Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting the Best From Others

Yesterday I shared with you some insights from John Maxwell on why the great leaders are great leaders. In a nutshell, John said the best leaders give their best to their people and they get the best from their people. Today John shares how the best leaders get the best from those on their team:

The Best Leaders Get the Best from Their People By...

The smartest leaders realize the limitations of their wisdom, and they listen to their people in order to capture invaluable insights. However, leaders don't just listen to gain knowledge, they also listen to give their people permission: permission to challenge the process, permission to test assumptions; and permission to take risks. Nothing turns off an up-and-coming leader like the deaf ear of a superior. The best leaders don't simply listen to incoming ideas; they proactively draw them out of their people. They listen actively, not passively.

Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. To touch a heart, a leader has to be open to disclosing his or her identity by sharing personal stories and owning up to professional weaknesses. Mysterious or aloof leaders may be successful decision-makers, but they won't get the heartfelt loyalty that comes from authentic relationships.

As simple as it sounds, making a person feel known correlates powerfully to their job satisfaction. In fact, Patrick Lencioni lists anonymity as one of the top indicators of a miserable job. Leaders dignify their people by studying their interests, learning about their families, and finding out their hobbies. Conscious of the power of connection, the best leaders refuse to be barricaded inside of an office, and they take responsibility for relating with others on a regular basis.

Gifted teachers have a way of making students out of disinterested bystanders. The best leaders have an infectious thirst for knowledge, and they take pride in cultivating knowledge of their craft and awareness of their industry. A leader's teaching ability depends upon ongoing personal growth. As Howard Hendricks said, "If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow."

The best leaders understand the differences between training people for tasks and developing people to be better leaders.

Focus is on the job

Adds value to specific things
Helpful for a short time
Changes a performance

Focus is on the person
Adds value to everything
Helpful for a lifetime
Change the performer

The best leaders view their people as appreciable assets and prioritize investing in the talent on their teams.

After one of my presentations, an audience member approached me who was visibly indignant about my speech. "Why is motivation last on the list?" he demanded. "Well," I replied, "because if you listen, relate, teach, and develop your people, then they will be motivated!"

Sustained motivation comes by creating the right environment for your people and by doing the right things consistently to nurture them. Consider a flower. It cannot grow in the Arctic; it requires a climate conducive to growth. Yet, even in the right environment, the flower must be planted in hospitable soil, exposed to sunlight, watered, and freed of weeds.

The Best Leaders Give Their Best to Their People by...1. Growing 2. Serving 3. Modeling
The Best Leaders Get the Best From Their People by...1. Listening 2. Relating 3. Teaching 4. Developing 5. Motivating

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