If you want people to follow you as their leader, then you will have to motivate them in some form or manner. The key here is, that people will follow you as their leader, if you have taken definite and exact actions to take them some place in the future.
It speaks of that old adage “Influence is what makes the leader successful”. There are a number of reasons people will follow you, but I want to share with you only four ways.
1. Make Your People Feel As if They Are the Most Important People Around
There is a real truth behind the words, “Everyone wants to feel important”. I think it’s one of the basic needs in any human being’s life. In fact, making your people feel important is more powerful as a motivator than money, promotion, working conditions and almost anything else in life. So do whatever is possible to make your people feel important. Don’t always try and show them you have more power than the other person. That kind of behaviour will be predictable. Don’t belittle your people’s importance so that they lose their self-respect.
Mary Kay Ash who built a $1-Billion-Dollar Cosmetics industry starting with only $5000-00, used this concept to absolute perfection. What was her secret? Simply this: She imagines that every person she sees has a sign on his or her head.
The sign reads,“Make me feel important”. My advice: Obey this sign’s request.
2. Communicate Your Vision Effectively
If you don’t have any idea of where you are going, and how you are going to get there, then no-one will follow you. In other words, if you have no vision where you want to take your organisation or department, your group of people will rather want to follow someone else who knows where he/she wants to go.
Professors Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus of the University of Southern California interviewed ninety leaders, including sixty successful CEO’s and thirty outstanding leaders from the public sector. All of them had a well thought-out vision of where they wanted their organisations to go. They said, “Their visions or intentions are compelling and pull people toward them”.
People are attracted to a leader’s vision and future goals, Why? Because they recognise that through him or her, they and the organisation can become permanently successful. Here is the key again: The leader can permanently affect their organisation or department by establishing a great vision, and setting long-term goals. I can guarantee you, that without such a vision for the future, your organisation will not be successful.
Here’s the trick though. Your people need to know what that vision is, because a secret goal and a secret vision for the future will not get you there. The leader then is responsible for that clear communication, no-one else.
3. Treat Others as You Would Like to Be Treated Yourself
Understand that your people will not follow you as their leader, if they know you are not interested in how they are being treated. It’s simply known as the Golden Rule. So clearly establish in your own mind how you would like to be treated, then go and do the same. In other words, you need to be interested in your people’s family issues as well. Many corporate leaders today have discovered that it is good leadership to treat family issues as business issues, and to treat the welfare of their people’s families, as a major priority. The secret is, a happy family man/woman will make a good employee. It’s the responsibility of every leader to take care of his/her people, before they care for themselves. You must put the welfare of your people before your own welfare. Do this, and people will follow you anywhere and under all circumstances.
4. Take Your Responsibility to Lead Your People Seriously, and Own Up When You Make Mistakes
It is your responsibility as leader to take your people to a certain destination or to achieve a certain result. Here’s the key: Once you take on the leadership responsibility of a group of people, then you and you alone are responsible for the results of that group. Yes, you can delegate certain tasks to other people, but you can never delegate your responsibility for the group to achieve a certain result. It doesn’t even make any difference whether the group performs poorly or not, because you alone are responsible for the group’s results.
So when mistakes are made, admit them, because it’s the right thing to do. If you do this, then the people in your group will give you their best trust. Fail to do this, and you will not be the leader for very long. Admitting your mistakes is a sign of strength, not weakness. As someone once said, “You must be able to underwrite the honest mistakes of your subordinates if you wish to develop their initiative and experience”. Here’s the key again: As a leader, you alone are responsible for everything those who follow you do, or fail to do.