When you're in a leadership position it's easy to lose sight of the big picture and lead by reacting to whatever comes your way. Inspirational leaders practice self-awareness by understanding how their thoughts and behaviors affect the people around them and their workplaces. Here are two leadership secrets that sit in plain sight but are overlooked by the vast majority of leaders:
It's Easy to Boss People Around and Tell Them What to Do
The most common leadership style is being directive and giving orders. It takes little skill to walk around telling people what to do, it's like asking someone to turn on the lights, throw out the garbage or get you a soda; there's limited complex thinking or interaction involved. In spite of this fact, leaders worldwide adhere to the view that all they have to do to inspire people is tell them what to do. If morale is low, just raise your voice and tell people to keep going. If something isn't working, just get angry and issue more commands. The missing element in this approach is the employee or co-worker; they have no input or stake in the process. People aren't motivated or excited to do great work when their voices don't matter and they're constantly being given directives. No matter how you package it, leadership by shouting orders is a one-way process that only satisfies one person.
You Get Better Results When People Motivate Themselves to Excel
People do better work when they motivate themselves and use their innate talents and abilities. Inspirational leaders know that, when they find out what people love to do and allow them to do it, they get much better results. These leaders hire individuals and delegate tasks that are meaningful to their employees and design their workplaces to help people use their brains and think critically. New ideas are welcome and creative thinking is encouraged. When leaders value people's amazing skills and let them assign themselves purposeful work, they're much more likely to do great things. Self-aware leaders get out of the way and trust people to direct themselves and, in the process, create a workforce that is more motivated and energized because they're treated like grownups.
You get to decide which of these two leadership approaches you practice in your workplace: Treat everyone like a baby or set up the conditions so they can shine. It's up to you whether you encourage your employees to be great or keep throwing orders at them. Which leadership approach will you choose?