Four Ways to Build a Field of Dreams
What leaders who want followers must embody.
-- Yogi Berra
If leading is the easy part, as Yogi Berra states, then what's the formula for getting people to follow?
In my experience working with and alongside C-suites, I've noticed that the leaders that inspire and motivate their associates, team members, and colleagues to follow (and often, without questions), exhibit these four behaviors:
- Speak the truth -- people will forgive an honest mistake, they won't forgive you if you lie.
- Do what you say you're going to do -- follow through means never having to say you're sorry.
- Be transparent and candid along the way -- as Louis Brandeis said, "Sunshine is the greatest disinfectant;" never be hesitant to let it shine on you.
- Take full responsibility for the consequences of your actions and those of people working for you -- the buck stops with you, don't pass it.
- Be clear and concise -- as opposed to confused and confusing.
- Be prepared to the best of your ability -- don't shoot from the hip and don't be afraid to say you'll get back to us when you don't know, but then get back to us.
- Know how to get things done -- by getting the right people in the right positions, doing the right things.
- Have a track record of already achieving positive, measurable results -- and for the benefit of others (vs. your own ambitions) that you represent
- Be comfortable in your own skin -- comfort and discomfort are contagious.
- Put a smile on others' faces -- and cause others to feel that they put a smile on yours.
- When you smile, have it touch your eyes (and when possible, your heart) -- the eyes are the royal road to the soul and not a bad lie detector.
- Don't take yourself too seriously -- laugh at yourself and the world laughs with you and not at you, and we could all use a good laugh.
- Know what's important and what isn't -- have the wisdom to know the right thing to do, the integrity to do it, the character to stand up to those who don't, and the courage to stop people who won't.
- Just because you can, doesn't mean you should -- when possible, have your personal house in order (you can still lead if people discover you've engaged in personal indiscretions that don't substantively and negatively affect them, but their positive feelings for you will be sullied by wishing you hadn't).
To borrow a quote from the iconic film Field of Dreams, if as a leader you engender in followers trust, confidence, enjoyment, and respect -- "people will come" and enthusiastically follow.
As you prepare for the New Year, take some time to reflect back over the previous year. Inventory and celebrate your successes, but also take time to reflect on missed opportunities to build a field of dreams.
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