The job of the most senior executive is to inspire people, not to issue commands. To foster commitment, not to enforce compliance. To instill a drive for efficiency and optimal performance in the team, regardless of the position or title, and not demand it.
Working with executives and CEOs, I have noted that exceptional leaders take the blame while average ones place the blame. When something is not right, an average leader will find an excuse. Now with the #COVID-19 pandemic, most executive briefing reports start with the words “due to COVID19, we did not…” As early as March 2020, exceptional leaders had already come up with COVID-19 response strategies and made strategic and operational moves to win amid a pandemic. Of course, one would say that some sectors had no way of escaping the pandemic due to physical distancing. We know great leadership is revealed during a crisis. What did you do to overcome the challenges?
My grandpa always said: “Once you take the goats to graze, you can go play with your friends.” He always offered benefits as a motivation to accomplishing tasks. Notice, the request is incomplete when you say, “Bernabas, take the goats to graze.” This is like a burdensome instruction. You will do it with a heavy heart. Whereas the former is a request that one is motivated to accomplish as soon as possible. That way, both parties win. That is what inspiring leadership is all about – showing people what they stand to gain when they accomplish their tasks.
When you reward effort, you inspire people. Team members want leaders who have their back. Who has a heart… someone who knows that effort must be fairly rewarded? We are in this together.
No one can keep a relationship or friendship where they keep giving and giving and giving all the time. People should give some, as they take some in equal measure to make the experience mutual and motivating.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr Strategy, 2021. All rights reserved.