Leadership happens in interaction with others. And interaction often means rubbing up against each other. It’s not enough to tell others to just follow us, because we are the boss. The carrot-and-stick approach (comfortable monthly paycheck vs. threat of being fired) has lost its grip in an age of insecure jobs and recurring reorganisations.
At the best of times, carrot-and-stick management has lead to passive resistance or compliance, but never to engagement and commitment.
So how can we engage others and get their commitment to our vision? First of all, we need to have a vision!
When we don’t know the bigger Why driving our actions, then how should others be able to understand our Why behind the plans we want to engage them in? Reciting numbers and pointing to the competition at our heels does not make for a compelling case. So when you need to move others into action, ask yourself:
What’s the vision behind your invitation to your people to change? Your vision for them, your team, your company?
A bold statement can release energy and create buy-in from all stakeholders: Take Amcor, for example, a global packaging company that has pledged to develop all of their packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. Can you see the shift that goes through a company with such a clear and publicly announced destination point?
Pressure is offputting, when we seek to change a behaviour, a strategy, or a company culture to create better outcomes. Vision is compelling.
A bold vision has the power to engage others in contributing to and co-creating outstanding results with us.
So when you experience resistance and disengagement from those you manage, and find yourself silently cursing them, ask yourself: What responsibility can I take for the unproductive outcomes of my conversations?
How much clarity do you have about your vision? How compelled are you to do whatever it takes to turn it into reality?
People follow authentic leaders, and authentic leaders know what they stand for.