On making people 'want' to work for you
One of my recent clients provided an excellent opportunity for me to solidify my thoughts around leadership, in particular, situational leadership and achieving goals through other parties.
After observing his interactions for several days, we identified that this leader needs to learn how to make people want to work for him. We discussed two habits to achieve this:
1. Ask humble questions
Why? This allows the other parties to demonstrate their knowledge. This builds them up, and therein allows them to buy in to where you need them to be.
The alternative is to ask ‘statement’ type questions, which they are expected to agree or disagree with. This can solidify their own opinions as opposed to convincing them of the merits of yours. Additionally, by gaining their viewpoints first, you can tailor your method to achieve your endstate.
This involves a deliberate and considered suppression of one’s own ego. Think about how often you want to make statements to show how much you know, instead of using the opportunity to build their ego.
2. Understand your endstate
You need to achieve something, but singlemindedly pursuing this will not make others want to work with you. A deliberate consideration of the endstate you want to achieve requires you to consider the relative importance of it. Is it imperative that you convince the other person of your way of thinking immediately, can you re-engage at a later opportunity if they are disagreeable, or is the preservation of the relationship more important than the outcome you need to achieve?
I explain this through the analogy of the Aircraft Captain and flying student. The Captain’s endstate is that the aircraft arrives at its destination safely, efficiently, and the student develops. The student will generally need to take more time than the Captain to achieve the endstate. The Captain needs to suppress their ego that wants to show the more inexperienced student how good they are, because the student practicing their decision making (within safety limits) will also lead to the Captain’s endstate.
The key as the leader is to understand your endstates in every interaction, then achieve the endstate whilst flexibly allowing the other party to determine the path. This will ensure they want to work with you again.