Leadership that inspires has non-measured elements. In most families, the heads of the household provide sustenance and a roof-over-their-heads while the children are tasked with their chores and education. There are family parallels to business vis-à-vis corporate leadership and followers who have tasks to perform. In the April 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine John Maxwell’s Maximum Leadership column, he suggests there is another essential element complementing employee “room-and-board”. He illustrates his point with this statement by Herb Kelleher:
“Leading an organization is as much about soul as it is about systems. Effective leadership finds its source in understanding. Unless a leader has an awareness of humanity, a sensitivity toward the aspirations and hopes of those he leads, and the capacity to analyze emotional forces that motivate conduct, he’ll be unable to produce and be successful regardless of how often other incentives are given.”
Maxwell’s conclusion: “think about the words Kelleher used to define effective leadership: understanding, awareness, sensitivity, soul. I believe one word that sums them up is compassion.”
This reminds me of Jim Autry’s tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment about leadership “compassion”. Autry: “good management is larger matter of love. Or if you’re uncomfortable with that word, call it caring, because proper management involves caring for people, not manipulating them.” There is a simple blueprint for leaders to earn the love of employees, like children love parents. Here are three simple leader to-do’s:
1. embrace the organization’s purpose and values (a-la family moral code).
2. mark significant program stages and completions ( graduations, birthdays ).
3. honor Key results ( report cards ).
Why these three and why does this work? The “corporate” categories are Ideologies (purpose/values), Milestones and Results. Subsequently when those are validated, preferably by the respected leader, the human desires of meaning, belonging and ownership are fulfilled. That is leadership that inspires intrinsically.