A Leader Doesn’t Operate in a Vacuum
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” ~ Ronald Reagan
When you lead a committee or team, you are not alone. There are team members, committee members who play a role in getting something accomplished. Since the goal is a collaborative one, it would be worthwhile if the team was excited about fulfilling its purpose. How to get people to give their best effort to achieve group success?
In a team sport, the adrenaline flows fast and easy because there’s a shared natural purpose to want to win. Faced with a survival type of situation whether real or fabricated like in scouts, outward bound, etc. everyone wants to get out of a tough unfamiliar environment. Grouped together in a “Escape Room” people strive to solve the puzzle and escape. Work or volunteer situations, the natural motivation for a closely knit group is not as obvious.
Is it realistic to expect group members at work or with unpaid work to be enthusiastic and want to work together? Particularly if there is no individual or group incentive. Then, inspiration cannot be assumed; it has to be created. As a leader you make it so.
The more your passion is visible or palpable, the more your team members will pick up on your positive energy which then permeates through the group activity. Excitement spreads. Next, people want to participate in something where they can make an impact and they can see the impact. Millennials, in particular, like to collaborate and feed off each other’s contribution. They need to be asked for input, listened to – their suggestions taken seriously and implemented in the plan. Young professionals thrive feeling they are making a difference in the group’s outcome. They need buy-in to be engaged.
A couple of years ago, I was leading a volunteer committee. It was a multi-generational mix. I could have done the work with two of the seasoned team members, however I wanted the Millennial members to feel a part of the team’s success; I wanted their participation, ideas, and for them to market our project to their friends because the project benefited young professionals, like them. Also important, wanting them to feel the accomplishment and be proud, perhaps acknowledging they were stretching their capabilities in order to meet the group’s goals. Knowing I couldn’t rely on my passion alone, I stayed in communication with everyone, (careful not to single them out), on a continual basis, asked their opinions, asked them to do research on things that interested them. In turn, they showed up, helped, were animated, asked questions, offered new strategies and encouraged their friends. They felt a sense of purpose.
This project might have been accomplished without much participation from all committee members, but it wouldn’t have been as fun or successful. The younger members wouldn’t have been able to share in the success or satisfaction of the results.
A leader doesn’t do all the work. They don’t inspire themselves or those who are already motivated, a leader influences others.
If scheduling a one-time workshop is your answer to leadership training but your young talent is still showing signs of frustration, a workshop is not the answer. Developing emerging leadership is my life’s mission. If you’d like to create a more complete plan that offers better results with increased productivity, more satisfied team members and increased retention, let’s talk. Contact me at Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com