Being a leader requires one thing – followers. It has nothing to do with rank or title, but with whether others are going to choose and volunteer to go in the direction that you set.
“We can force people to do things, we can whip them into shape or offer them all kind of carrots and sticks to get them to do things, but at the end of the day a true leader is when others will say: ‘I will follow you’.
The question is: Why should anyone follow you?
The human animal is like a company. We want to get certain behaviour out of the organisation, and out of people. We give them incentives or disincentives. If you want someone to perform, if you want them to hit a goal – set the target, set the goal and offer them some sort of bonus. If someone is threatened with a punishment – disincentivise their behaviour.
Leaders must provide a clear vision
- Why are we doing this?
- Why are we in business in the first place?
- What is the point of growing the company?
- What is the value that our company is offering?
- What do we want our company to leave behind as a legacy?
There has to be a purpose of why your company exists, beyond the things you make, the things you do and beyond the money you make. You had the purpose once you founded the company, otherwise you wouldn’t have taken the risk to start it with the overwhelming chance of failure. People wouldn’t have given you blood, sweat and tears if they did not believe in you. You are the Alfa, you had the vision, you have the strength. They joined you because you gave them a sense of purpose, belonging and protection.
You have to know WHY you do what you do. The more leaders can put into words, the clearer we can see it. You can only see the things which we have words for. Example: “I have a dream”. The rest of us could see it and can focus our attention on getting it done.
Every metric that we use is the tree getting a little bigger, getting us closer to the Giselle. Each metric shows u that we are getting closer to the vision. It is not just about the numbers at the end of the year. How did we do, We’re up! Good. Towards what? If we don’t know what we are getting closer to and it makes work unfulfilling.
Do we feel bad if we missed the goal? No, but we feel bad if we let somebody we love down, our boss, our parents, our coach. (We feel bad if we let down a human being).
Accountability is never to a number, but to a person. If there is no relationship with the person who is supposed to look after us – then we don’t feel accountable. This is where leadership really becomes important. When we give selflessly to those in our tribe – offering them protection – that is all anybody wants at work – to feel safe, comfortable and protected.
Back in the days there were no countries, no corporations, no companies. They did not exist. There is only one thing that pre-existed, the family – that is all we had, each other.
You get to pick your employees, but you don’t get to pick your children. It doesn’t matter if your children are not smart – you give them undying love. You don’t point out their weaknesses, you point out their strengths (if you are a good parent). You encourage them to do the things that they are good at and you hold them up. Sometimes you let them fail, sometimes you discipline them, sometimes you push them and sometimes you let them go. All we want for our children is to achieve more that we could achieve, and we will do that by providing them support, safety and protection.
“It is no different at work. Stop saying your company is like a family – it is a family. The minute you hire someone, you must give them undying love and you must work tirelessly that they can achieve – be a servant leader.
Put your employees first
We put people first, not numbers. We sacrifice people to save the numbers, but we don’t sacrifice numbers to save people. As human beings we are biologically designed to co-operate and to help each other. If you give somebody responsibility and put them in a position of power or authority – then they rise up! Why?
We all want to feel that our lives have value. We want to feel that our lives and the work we do is valuable to the tribe. We all want to know that our company needs us. People feel fulfilled when we make them feel necessary. They feel proud that something got done and that they were a part of it.
Marines in the marine corps will give their lives to people they barely know, because they have learned to trust each other. The first words they learn are: “I, me, and my are no longer part of their vocabulary. They are taught that success does not come by yourself, it only comes in a group.
African Proverb: “To go fast, go along. To go far, go together”
Hiring of employees
Devote yourself not to fire people, but to give them an opportunity to contribute. If they fail help them up. If you feel that they are incompetent, and you think they do not fit into your culture, why did you hire them in the first place – because of their resume or because they belong?
You should treat hiring like adopting a child. If we adopt a child, we don’t give them the key of our house and let them run around by themselves. We want to get to know the child, spend time with him, and see if the other children would get along with him. Hiring employees is exactly the same.
You cannot judge a company by die good times. You cannot judge a crew when the seas are calm. We judge the quality of a crew when the seas are rough.
Loving our jobs is a right and not a privilege. Only a few loves going to work? By saying ‘love’ our jobs, do not mean we have to like it every day. The thing that makes us love our job is not the work that we are doing, it is the way we feel when we go there. We feel safe and protected. We feel that someone wants us to achieve more and is giving us the opportunity to prove ourselves.
Numbers will never come to your aid, but people will. Are you hiring based on skills or on culture? Over the course of time you will watch your own culture improve and people will love coming to work. It is good for innovation, progress and good for profit.”
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