Spotlight on Leadership

By on August 14, 2009
Spotlight on Leadership

If you ask people who work for a living what makes them come back to work day after day, they will tell you that they want to be involved, they want to know what’s going on, they want to be noticed, they want to feel like their efforts make a difference to the organization. It turns out that a paycheck is about halfway down the list of the top ten things that motivates people to work. Surprised?

The leader who can address these personal needs of the workforce will find people flocking to his/her leadership and will build a powerful organization. Herewith, free of charge, are the five Key Principles of Leadership, courtesy of Development Dimensions International (DDI):

  1. Maintain or enhance self-esteem
  2. Listen and respond with empathy
  3. Ask for help and encourage involvement
  4. Share thoughts, feelings and rationale
  5. Provide support without removing responsibility

So how do leaders apply these principles?

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
– Peter F. Drucker

For most people, work underlies much of their self-esteem. When they do something right, acknowledge it, preferably in public. When they do something wrong, give them the factual feedback they need, let them know you still respect them, and coach them to find a better way – all this preferably in private.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
– Dale Carnegie

People have both positive and negative feelings about themselves, the people around them, and the work they do. Empathizing with their feelings means acknowledging their right to their feelings, even when you don’t share them. People don’t want to be agreed with as much they want to be understood.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
– Helen Keller

When you ask someone for her assistance or advice, that’s flattering to the individual and makes her want to contribute more. When someone is fully involved in a decision-making process, she’s much more likely to carry out the decision even if the final outcome isn’t what she originally wanted. If you want people to be responsible, they need to be involved.

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
– Ken Kesey

People will work hard for people they trust. When a leader is open with her own thoughts, feelings, and rationale, the organization is much more willing and able to carry out the necessary tasks to bring about the desired results. Explaining why you’re moving in a particular direction is as important as pointing out the direction itself.

“When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
– Jack Welch

Leaders have enough to do without having to do everyone else’s work, too. Leaders are supposed to get work done through others, not do everything themselves. Whoever it was who said, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” must have been having a particularly bad day. An effective leader wants people to take ownership of their tasks and have the skill and confidence to complete them. Leaders need to help their people get the roadblocks out of the way of their doing their jobs, not take over the jobs themselves.

The five Key Principles of leadership demonstrate that personal relationships underlie the success of all great leaders. Even when it’s business, it’s always personal.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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