The secret of leadership revealed!

From infographics to seminars, we’re presented with management versus leadership contrasts, and what makes a great leader diagrams. Why have we focused so much energy on leadership? What is it about leadership that is so critical to the success of teams and organizations? Let’s take a look at what famous leaders have said.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
– Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President

“The way you delegate is that you first have to hire people that you really have confidence in.”
– Robert Pozen, former Chairman of MFS Investment Management

“The essence of leadership is building the bonds of trust in your organization.”
– Colin Powell, four-star U.S. General

These quotes help lay the foundation to the importance of leadership. After all, the numbers are inspiring enough, but we should be asking what about leadership causes such significant improvements?

Source: DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2011 Executive Summary
Those results are quite distant from each other. Which is why I wanted to share what the difference is.
One of my jobs had me taking classroom management classes, and one of the resources they taught was very similar to a tool from my leadership program. The fancy phrase, intrinsic motivation. We would set out rules for the classroom that the students themselves decided and agreed upon. Once all the students agreed to the rules, they would sign the board and hang it somewhere in class. The rules typically always ended up looking like this:

It was shocking to see how responsive the students were to this symbol of structure. Their motivation to follow these rules came from their integrity to follow-through with their collaborative boundaries, and a mutual sense of accountability. It was a sense of ownership. Just like the first quote by Ronald Reagan, and the first rule; Work as a TEAM.

An excerpt from an article by Forbes says:

“When people are intrisically motivated, they enjoy what they are doing more, and find it more interesting. They feel more creative, and process information more deeply. They persist more in the face of difficulty. They perform better. Intrinsic motivation is awesome in its power to get and keep us going.”
Working together as a team means to have trust in your fellow mates (as Colin Powell said), in their abilities (as Robert Pozen said), their competencies, and in their intrinsic motivation to achieve the common goal. The goal that you as a leader have placed before them. Having these attributes in your team will ultimately create autonomy.

“Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.”
– Tom Peters, Author of Search for Excellence

Autonomy is the secret to great leadership. When you have each team member intrinsically motivated, and holding each other accountable, you’ll begin to see the results as noted in DDI Global Leadership Forecast. The ownership of their own work will inspire their passion to push themselves further than ever before.

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