Those who follow you (clients or employees) have a a choice on WHO they follow and WHY. Give your followers the right reasons. Read below:
For many, leadership is transactional. Someone gives instructions and someone else follows them. It’s a matter of cause and effect. Step 1 then step 2. Simple and done.
However, YOU are much savvier than that. You realize that “giving instructions” is only one part of what happens when leaders lead. Let’s talk about what else is happening…
What if I told you that people do what they CHOOSE to do. People choose to get up and go to work. People decide to send one email over another. People decide what to wear. People decide who they want to listen to and what response is most appropriate.
If this is true, that means that people choose to follow your instruction. They listen to what you have to say, make a choice, and choose to follow/not follow. Even if they do exactly what you ask each and every time, they still made a choice to do so.
So then leadership isn’t about what you tell your followers to do, it’s about what your followers choose to do in response to what you say. Read that last sentence again, it may need a second time.
If you are still with me (and you still agree)…your leadership, guidance, and direction is about helping people make choices. Especially since you know they are going to make their own choice anyway.
Consider the viewpoint that your leadership is about helping people reach a decision that is good for both them and the environment they work in. This means that if people don’t do what you ask they don’t believe that what you asked works for them. They feel like something else is more important.
So ask yourself:
“What is most important to THEM?”
“Is what I ask of them in line with what THEY view to be important?”
“Do I truly value the fact that they will make their OWN decision no matter what I say?”
The magic here is to understand that your role as a leader is to influence people and not to decide for them. Deciding for them is impossible. They always have a choice.