Every leader needs people to lead. As a hint, it’s in the title!
Yet leaders come in many shapes and sizes. They also come with a range of capabilities to lead others and an even smaller minority are those leaders who gain exceptional commitment from their team.
Leaders need a team around them to ensure that the results demanded by the organisation can be delivered. A leader cannot do this alone. By default, the workload is far to much for one person.
And there is a difference between the leaders who lead others by name – and those who lead others and have the full engagement – or commitment – of those they lead.
Whilst many employees will be engaged by the Mel Gibson style ‘Braveheart’ speech, in which he rallies his troops against the English, this showman style motivation will only suffice for a while. Leaders who gain exceptional commitment from their people, are more.
Many of us carry experiences of those leaders we worked with once who we would follow to the ends of the earth.
For some it will be a memorable schoolteacher; for others it might be a mentor manager who engaged them during their career. It might be a family friend who they not only admire, but who took the time to be with them.
The key to driving commitment is not ‘Gung-Ho’, but ‘Softly-Softly’. The best leaders know this. In fact the best leaders might not actually acknowledge this, because it is so inherent within them, that they are who they are, quite naturally; quite innocently. They don’t have to work at it.
Memorable. Mentoring. Inspiring.
Someone others will follow to the ends of the earth.
Great commitment comes more from ‘who’ the leader is, rather than ‘what’ they do. That said, it is ‘what’ they do when they are being ‘who’ they are that makes the difference. It’s just that they don’t have to work at it in big ways. They don’t need the ‘Mel Gibson’ moments to drive it. There is something else.
The best leaders who drive commitment are those who are simply great people. They demonstrate qualities such as humanity; humblemness; caring; supportiveness; understanding; challenge and consistency.
They are trustworthy; gossip-free; follow through on what they say they will do; they apologise if they ever let others down (which is rare). They have even more qualities like this too.
Great leaders drive commitment though the person beneath, layered over with a bit of management skill, vision and strategy too.
Then their people truly will follow.