These days, many corporate mandates carry a similar tone. Something like; do more with less, which, when translated, usually means a need for higher output with better levels of control, using fewer resources. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with these goals because they more clearly define the ‘WHAT’ that is needed from the people in the Organization. The area that could use some adjustment however is how leaders and managers go about getting the WHAT. How they go about getting the increased output and better control using fewer resources.
Common Leadership styles typically have a ‘top-down’ or ‘outside-in’ approach. In other words, there is a mandate that must be accomplished and that mandate is pushed down through the chains of command. To respond to the instruction, traditional leadership usually follows some version of: define the problem, lay out the solution, communicate the needs and the solutions to the people that will get it done and then (hopefully) measure the progress toward the new goal.
All of this is good, but it assumes that approach is sufficient to meet any challenge using a team of people. The reality is there is another dimension of Leadership that brings a whole new level of engagement and productivity to the people who have to get the job done and it radically and positively changes the outcomes!
The other dimension is ‘WHO’.
The people that are tasked with accomplishing the new goals, need motivation to produce the new outcomes – but that motivation won’t last, coming from the outside. External directives produce some level of accomplishment and compliance, but they don’t have the power to produce sustained results. Outside motivation also does not have the power to produce higher output on an ongoing basis. This kind of ‘outside-in’ leadership approach cannot address the WHO dimension, because it ignores the internal motivation of each person.
Simon Cooper, COO Ritz Carlton said:
People are never more apathetic than in the pursuit of another man’s dream.
Identity based Leadership begins from a distinctly different starting place or Departure Point, than conventional Leadership.
It starts with WHO.
This Inside-out leadership addresses the WHO dimension, by starting with it, by using it as a Departure Point. By allowing the WHO to guide all else that is produced Leaders virtually ensure an elevated level of sustainable and controllable productivity.
E E Cummings wrote:
“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
Developing Leaders now takes on a whole new paradigm. It approaches first from the Departure point of WHO rather than WHAT. It seeks to understand the innate abilities and Talents of the individual first, then to apply those abilities under the guide of a corporate mandate or outcome. In other words it understands the WHO first and then assigns the WHAT – in that order. This approach greatly improves the engagement level of the people involved and higher engagement leads to dramatic increases in output and satisfaction.
i.e. Increased output with better control using fewer resources.
When people get to use their innate abilities and Strengths, they are functioning in an area of natural Talent. Science shows that we get high levels of personal satisfaction from functioning in our talents. In other words, the people like the WHAT that is being done. When they like it, they want more. When the people doing the work have their own desire to do the work more, there is no more need to drive for outcome. In fact driving people as a whole becomes obsolete and all that becomes necessary is the gentle guidance of where to apply their energy.
Some people can lead in multiple areas of business or life, but most people can lead in the areas they are Strong. Developing leaders from Scratch seems like a daunting task, but if it begins with the understanding of WHO they are and that leads to WHAT they do, then there’s a good chance of successfully empowering people toward greatness.