Most leaders find themselves in the position, at some point, of thinking ‘we could do better’. In some cases, the organisation may have even arrived at a point where it needs bold decisions and fast action to survive.
As a leader this will test your ability, your courage, your integrity and your commitment to the limit. But, when the stakes are highest, the opportunity to do something extraordinary is the greatest.
Many people see a difficult situation and choose not to get involved, but the inspiring leader sees it as a huge opportunity to create something special.
The team may be demoralized, feel vulnerable and have lost confidence. Now is the time to take action before your best people move on and the situation deteriorates further.
A leader must always keep their eye on the horizon – looking forward and navigating clearly whatever the current conditions.
- Are themselves inspired and passionate
- Recognise that challenge is part of the journey to success
- Have empathy with their team
- Are committed to achieving the goal
It’s OUR dream
If you want to be an inspiring leader you won’t be doing this on your own – and that means you’re going to need to share your goals, vision and aspirations with your team and find a way to get them on board.
As an inspiring leader you need to understand how engagement works and how businesses driven by shared commitment are the ones which succeed. The key threads of commitment are emotional alignment and the ability of the team to move quickly in the agreed direction.
To change beliefs, develop shared values and gain individual accountability, emotional engagement in achieving the agreed vision of success is vital. Individual accountability, with agreed and shared team goals, creates a winning culture.
Switch to looking forwards
If your business is in a difficult position, or your team have had poor experiences in the past, promises not kept, results not rewarded and lots of words that turned out to be hot air, it’s going to be more challenging to build belief and alignment. The team need to have an opportunity to refresh, to think differently and to own the opportunity of a successful future.
The first step is to move their focus from what happened in the past to what they want to happen in the future. And there’s the key – what THEY want. Have you ever asked your colleagues “What do you want the company to be?” or “How will this business look when we are truly world class?”
When you know what their vision of the future is, you’ll be able to see if their vision and yours are congruent. They may be seeing the same end goal from a slightly different perspective but their view is a starting point to discussing and agreeing what a successful future looks like.
If your staff have big gripes, doing something proactive to resolve one of these will go a long way to getting them on board – I call this ‘painting a wall red’. It’s not actually painting a wall red, but it tells your team you’re listening and taking them seriously. It is about making a significant change which is highly visible and which shows that you are serious about positive change.
There is only ever one version of the truth. Everyone must share the same vision and information. Everything that is not confidential (and very little really is) needs to be shared with the people you’ve asked to build the future. That includes bad news. Everyone is in it together. We will fix it together.
The best way to get your team on board is honesty and transparency – about everything. There will be people who initially don’t trust you, don’t trust your ideas or just don’t want to change. So communicate, communicate, communicate.
You can’t succeed if people are pursuing their own goals or their own idea of what success looks like. There’s no room for people who don’t believe in the shared vision. There’s no room for ‘agreeing to differ’. People who don’t buy in would be better working somewhere they feel more comfortable – I’ve helped people to move on to good jobs elsewhere, without falling out, when they couldn’t make the commitment the company needed.
That’s the secret of a world class operation – one goal, a single focus and every single person committed. With that, the sky is the limit.