Leadership has always been about people, and because of COVID-19 now everyone knows it! One of the reasons that I wrote The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders is because I was frustrated with how leadership was conducted in business and the perceived lack of self leadership.
Being led by hyenas and being expected to follow like sheep, was against my maverick nature.
It surprises me that anyone accepts this lack of leadership as the norm. For far too long, leadership has been something that you do to people. This changes everything about the dynamics between people. If you see the people you lead as a resource to utilise, then you treat them differently.
They become ‘other’ and you become all powerful.
If its your job to make people do things, regardless of how they feel about those things, then you can’t help seeing people as your ‘human resource or capital’.
Maverick DRIVEN™ Leaders know something far more maverick about the leader – follower dynamic. It is something they hold as self evident, and it informs the way that they act and interact with others.
When it comes to leadership … Both parties are powerful. You are peers. It’s self evident.
If you aren’t wilfully independent (maverick) then this kind of truism may feel confronting and unnecessarily challenging. Especially if you deem yourself the boss. Treating each other as peers rather than believing that you treat someone based on their hierarchical position is a dynamic shift away from how leadership has been demonstrated and taught for years. In fact for years, organisations have relied on a perceived imbalance of power to survive and function.
It’s time for a change.
COVID-19 has only accelerated what I have spoken about for years. What you do and who you are is vitally important. Especially now.
Leadership has always been about people.
When you realise that leadership begins in the heart and is demonstrated by your actions, your leadership priorities tend to change. It becomes more pertinent to consider what you Do as a Maverick Leader and who you ARE.
This is the foundation block for Maverick DRIVEN Leadership™.
“Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less”John Maxwell
Lexico.com defines influence as: “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself”. It describes manipulation as: “The action of manipulating someone in a clever or unscrupulous way”.
Maverick Leaders recognise that they have power and they hold that power lightly. They understand that influence works better than manipulation in the long run; and being able to influence for the greater good is the bedrock of how they lead. Leadership has always been about people
So, to influence is to look for the win/win/win in the situation. To consider whether there is a way to align the employee’s values and purpose to the situation at hand. To consider how, what you want doing or changing, is for the greater good and/or beneficial for the individual. To be emotionally aware of the situation, environment and the individual. They treat everyone they lead as a peer, and therefore sees no need to demonstrate their power over the other person.
We are all working for the greater good. There’s never a need to be disrespectful. In Transactional Analysis terms, Maverick Leaders only have adult to adult conversations.
To be able to influence someone (so that they are willing to allow you to affect them), rather than manipulate them (by threats, money or peer pressure), they need to know that you genuinely care for them. For example, do you know about the things that are important to them? What motivates them? What they do for fun outside work?
The best bosses know all these things, and more. Leadership begins with your heart – if you don’t have one, then you can’t lead!
If you don’t care for those that you lead, then they will only follow you because you make them (manipulation). There will be little goodwill lent to you, and therefore you will find engagement poor and productivity low.
When people were ‘coming into the office’ to work, you could easily see the effect of not caring for those that you lead. Your employees refused to start work a minute early and finished the exact second the clock indicates it’s ‘home time’.
You would discover that customer service begins to decline and complaints start to increase.
COVID-19 has meant that almost everyone is now working from home. Companies that demonstrated that they didn’t care for their employees, or had managers that provoked apathy, are discovering much of their time is spent monitoring their employees. Unable or incapable to trust their employees to fulfil the job that they were paid to do, or switch into roles where their skills are most needed. This lack of care will prompt good people to leave, and customers to dwindle. Customers will go to companies whose employees remain upbeat and efficient during this time and employees will leave those companies who cannot demonstrate their care for their wellbeing.
It’s a ticking time bomb that can be avoided.
Recently, I was working with an organisation whose team was fragmenting, having never worked remotely before. I coached and mentored the managers so that they were able to truly lead the team. They received practical advice on how to ensure the team was supported, how to deal with team dynamics, and how to ensure that the work was completed to their usual high standard. By working directly with the team as well, the team felt that their manager cared enough about them to hire someone who could offer support. The team was able to ask specific questions in a group setting about the things that they were individually going through. This practical advice also had the pleasant side effect of bringing the team together. The team feels less fragmented and now have better working relationships wit hose internal and external to the team.
Maverick Leaders genuinely care about their employees and know just what to do to demonstrate this care. They know how to show empathy and support, even during this COVID-19 era; as well as ensuring that the work gets done. Anyone can learn how to be a Maverick Leader, especially if they understand and appreciate the need to not only care about their employees, but to demonstrate it also.
Leadership has always been about people:
“Leadership begins in the heart and is demonstrated by your actions”Judith Germain