Joseph Wong is a multiple award-winning leadership and behavioural transformation coach. He is also a mind-shifting professional speaker on influence, leadership, and motivation. An expert on the topic of influence without authority, he is the author of The Power Science of Influence and The Predictable Game-Strategies to influence and shift people into taking massive action.Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to win in a time of dramatic disruption, the businesses today need to move away from top-down management structures and introduce visionary new leadership styles which are people driven. So, is your organisation ready for Leadership 2.0?
A conversation I had with a senior leader was about how leadership today is evolving not just by how the economy is performing, but the standard people expect from their leaders today. People are not interested in coming to work, but being led. But there must be a leader whom they want to follow. This is what I call leadership by the favour of the people.
What is True Leadership?
The conventional leaders that we come across are promoted based not by the favour of the people, but by the number of key performance indicators (KPI) they achieved and their technical competencies. They are promoted through a system and not through people.
KPIs are of course important – after all, they pay the salaries. But if we put leadership into the equation, they are secondary, because leadership is about growing people. Growing people is profitable over the long term. Growing people needs to be a KPI for a leader.
But why are there leaders who do not seem to understand this equation? This is because, in an organisation system of promotion, there is no element called the favour of the people.
A happy leader is not too concerned about trying too hard to retain people, but believe that if they can help their people to grow in their careers, investing time to coach and mentor them to success, people would naturally want to stay on longer.
A leader with the greatest influence is usually the one who does not believe in having a title. With or without one, they can master the resources required and rally people forward with a cause. They treat people with respect, understand the importance of receiving favours from their people and place everyone on the same level playing field including themselves. Here are three ways leaders who lead without titles are likely to succeed with people:
It is About Them, Not You.
Leaders need to listen more than they speak and learn more quickly than they talk. People who lead without title are not concerned if people overtake them. After all, the key responsibility of a leader is ensuring his or her people succeed and go further than he or she can.
When a person becomes a leader, he or she should create a safe ground for others to share and shine, support their thinking with his or her view and calibrate the solution. Being a leader requires one to put others ahead of one’s needs. The people are the stars, not the leader.
Don’t Try Too Hard.
Leaders who try too hard end up trying to micro-manage and having the answer to everything. That is not how what a leader should be. Leaders who lead without a title are not too concerned about whether the people in the room notice their presence or not.
A leader I came across had an ego issue. Every time his team members raised an issue, he would try to convince them on the pretext of “friendly advice that they are wrong and he was right. After some time, no one bothered to speak up any more. In short, he is surrounded by people who do not speak up because he does not listen. The team is unmotivated due to his leadership style. A leader who does not listen loses credibility. No amount of years of experience can make up for it.
Put People’s Growth First.
A leader who does not believe in a title but creates opportunities for everyone in the team increases his or her credibility. This allows the leader to create fairness in the system where everyone has a fair chance to grow.
People leave an organisation because they are no longer growing. Leaders need to acknowledge that if they do not take responsibility for their people’s growth, they will lose them. People leave because of people but stay because of the leader. But if you are a happy leader, you can change this. So, are you a leader happy leader?
Are You a Happy Leader?
Evidence of positive psychology has shown that happiness does have a return on investment. We call it the Return on Happiness (ROH). In multiple keynotes and training sessions that I have conducted on how leaders can make a difference for their people, most leaders mention that happiness is only good to have, and not a must-have. I choose to disagree for one simple reason — happiness does translate into high performance at the workplace.
A leader with the greatest influence is usually the one who does not believe in having a title. With or without one, they can master the resources required and rally people forward with a cause. They treat people with respect, understand the importance of receiving favours from their people and place everyone on the same level playing field including themselves. A happy leader continually challenges their people beyond what they can do. They believe in building a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset.
People who decide to stay or leave usually ask themselves the question: “Am I happy following this leader?” The conclusion is simple— if the leader is a happy leader, he or she attracts happy people, and you have a happy team that performs. A happy team walks the extra mile and gets things done with the team in mind because the leader takes care of his or her people.
Here are three beliefs happy leaders should have:
Build People, Not Business.
We tend to look at the equation the other way round. An age-old assumption is that if the business is doing well, then we will have resources and time to build people. All businesses whether small or big, require good people to drive performance. Without good people on board, organisations will lose people more quickly than they can recruit, and the vicious cycle continues.
Build Opportunities, Not Policies.
Happy leaders understand that all people want to be given opportunities to grow in their careers. A happy leader is not too concerned about trying too hard to retain people, but believe that if they can help their people to grow in their careers, investing time to coach and mentor them to success, people would naturally want to stay on longer. Happy leaders want to make a difference in the lives of people who work with them. They want to see their people succeed because when that happens, they succeed too.
Build Mindsets, Not Habits.
A happy leader continually challenges their people beyond what they can do. They believe in building a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset. Stretching people beyond their baseline helps them to see possibilities and challenge personal limits.
Happy leaders expect a high standard from their people. They understand, empathize, and celebrate both success and failures because they know failures will help their team to grow and evolve.
The new model of leadership is all about leading without a title. If the organisations don’t replace the traditional model of leadership with visionary leadership styles, the organisations will eventually end up being obsolete.