As I drove home yesterday, I heard a very inspiring broadcast by Michael Josephson on the radio, more so than the previous ones that I had listened to. It really made me think about my own life and what it means to be a leader and what I can do to better myself. Everyone is a leader to someone, whether it is a child, team members, or even a pet. Everyone deserves their dignity. So I hope you are as inspired as I was after reading this.
Parents, teachers, and managers have one thing in common: They have the power to tell somebody to do something.
Whether it’s washing the dishes, learning the metric system, or coming to work on time, there is a superior-subordinate relationship that includes the additional power to judge the quality of performance and impose discipline if expectations are not met.
There is, however, a moral responsibility to use this leadership power effectively (as measured by results) and ethically (as measured by the propriety of the methods used to attain the results).
The best parents, teachers, and managers use their authority fairly and respectfully, both because it’s the right thing to do and because it produces better results. And as they realize that building solid and durable relationships based on mutual trust and respect is more important in the long run than accomplishing a particular task, they avoid motivational techniques likely to undermine a relationship.
A powerful leadership insight comes from poet Maya Angelou who said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
From a leadership point of view, the better you make others feel, the better they will do. It’s the perfect marriage between ethics and effectiveness.
Good leaders motivate positively. They generate commitment based on pride and desire. They make people feel valued, appreciated, confident, respected, and inspired. Weak leaders use negative tactics that evoke fear of shame or disdain. They leave people feeling resentful, discouraged, unsure, and apathetic – counterproductive attitudes that cause disengagement and alienation.
So how do you make people feel?
Do they feel better or worse about themselves? Do they desire or dread their interactions with you? Do they expect to be encouraged and praised or criticized and rebuked?
Good leaders get the best out of others by using the best of themselves.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.