Have you, as an employee, ever heard things like these from a boss, manager, leader or anyone above you at work?
“I’ll make this the best team of the Company”
“I’m sure this is the right way to do it”
“If you listen to what I’m saying, you’ll see I’m right”
“I think that we can make this happen”
“Trust me, I have done this for a long time”
“I’ve done it before, that’s how I know”
Or, as a manager, have you ever said stuff like that? It’s not a sin, and definitely not a mistake. Just ask yourself, have you? And if you have…why? It’s already hard to recall each time you said something like that, let alone try to figure out your motives or if you even had one to begin with. Sometimes it’s just using figures of speech we’re used to hearing or think that it sounds right, but have you ever stopped to think what, in fact, you are communicating?
I still find myself repeating stuff like this more often than not so I can say that at least for me, this is a challenge.
The fact is that, specially when we’re new at the job, but not only then (note: nobody is born a leader, no matter what you hear, leaders are crafted, sometimes taught, sometimes self-taught but nobody is borns knowing how to lead or manage), we tend not to pay a lot of attention to how we actually say things. That’s true for almost everyone I guess based on feedback I’ve gotten through the years.
Make it about yourself and you might have a slight chance at success.
I can’t say it’s wrong or right to be honest and probably neither can you. One thing I’ve learnt is that the more you make this about yourself the more chances you have to fail, and saying YOU are going to do this or that, then YOU are indeed making things spin around yourself instead of around those who care: the ones that work for you, those who follow you and need to find in you, more than “YOU”: they need to see possibilities, opportunities, a future and what’s more important, the reflection of what they can be.
Make it about yourself and you might have a slight chance of getting things done, achieving stuff, maybe even being successful. Make it about them and those chances increase tenfold. Show them it’s them who inspire you, not your mirror. Share with them the Vision that puts everything together and show yourself as a tool to make that Vision happen for them and see how they fight for it.
Give them a reason to Believe not in you, but in themselves.
The simplest way of putting this is that we like fighting for what’s ours rather than for what’s not. If I’m not included in a vision or a dream, I am nothing but someone who just follows commands, so it is likely I will just do it and wish for it to end quickly. If I am included in that vision though, if I feel I am a part of it and that everything that happens, happens for me…I won’t stop even after it’s done. I will try to make it the best thing I can because I am a part of something that is also mine.
Give them something to fight for, something to defend and cherish. You might already be doing it and maybe not communicating it the right way. Even the greatest vision can go bad if no one buys it and chances are if you’re trying to sell YOUR vision, YOUR way, and how YOU are going to make it happen because YOU thought of it or because YOU have the experience and YOU have done it in the past…well, you already get the point, right?
Also published on Medium.