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Friday, 10 October 2014 20:00


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Leadership: Beginning with the Why

"As a Leader, if the only true way to get people to do what you want, is to get them to want to do it..." 
How do you get people to want what you want?

As simple as it sounds, Interdependence is the key to getting people to want what you want, thus creating a response of willingness to act from the people you manage or interact with on a daily basis. You might not feel it day-to-day, but people management is in a major transition. The old days of command-and-control leadership are fading in favor of what might be better termed a trust-and-track method, in which people are not just told what to do, but why they are doing it.  More formally, we're moving from what was called "transactional" leadership to "transformative" leadership and Interdependence is the key corner stone.

How does Interdependence work?
Take some time to picture in your mind, each individual on your team or division within your organization. Imagine they are all linked to you; and what is holding that connection firm, looks much like a network of Conversation, Relationship and Commitments. How well you converse and relate, and manage your commitments, has a major bearing on getting people to eagerly want what you want. Let´s refer to these as checkpoints within a timeline in order to obtain your goal of Interdependence.


Note, it´s human nature to follow these in the order they appear. Have you ever successfully build a relationship without conversation sessions? Have you ever successfully committed a complete stranger to do you a personal favor?

Poor leadership skills is basically summed up in trying to get to your objective by skipping over one or more of these checkpoints or simply, not being able to successfully proceed to the next one. In this volume, our objective is to completely invert the way you use checkpoint 1 Conversation.

Checkpoint 1 Conversation

It´s human nature to lean more towards the easier option or quick fixes. We tend to choose whatever solution requires less mental and physical effort from our part, in almost every aspect of our lives; even as leaders we fall into  this same lifestyle. For example, what is the first option that comes to mind when you have a conflict with a teammate or a subordinate? For most, the answer is to simply fire and replace. As leaders I encourage you to not use a “quick fix” but to use a bit more mental effort to brainstorm other more effective solutions. 

These habits are so encrypted into our lifestyle, it even affects our language when trying to communicate what we want.  Analyze figure 1 and 2.

F1. - Represents all who begin communicating with the WHAT they want before any other valuable information, thus creating a quick response of opposition and resistance.

When wanting to influence someone´s behavior to match what we want as leaders, we tend to demand it, by using language such as; “you have to...” “you need to...” or “just do what I say.” etc. For Example; “You have to be on-time.” “You need to have a better attitude.” and Sit-up straight in your chair.” These, like many others are typically used by leaders who communicate from the Outside-In and in most cases, are more likely to refuse to give any further explanations or reasoning as to HOW and WHY once confronted with opposition from a subordinate or co-worker. 

F2. - Represents all who begin communicating with the WHY they want what they want, before revealing exactly what they want.thus creating a response of understanding and willingness to act.

Beginning With the Why

From a mid or high-management stand point, it already is quite challenging getting people to effectively do what you want. It gets more difficult when the want is´t even yours, but the company´s want.

Case Study: Sit-up Please? 

I was asked by BPO/Call Center GuateCall, to create a Pre-leadership Training Program. One of GuateCall´s areas of expertise is Out-bound Sales, so I had a room filled with future leaders that were still on the phone daily as Sales Agents. We were discussing beginning with the Why and I challenged a young lady to a simple demonstration. I asked everyone in the class to slouch in their chair while I explained the scenario, I asked my volunteer to come up to the front of the class were I told her that I, as the company owner wanted her to get her team to sit-up straight in their chair instantly. 

She turned and faced the rest of the class with a smile and as an elementary choir teacher would, raised the palms of her hands upward and said, “sit-up... please?” No one moved, I asked her to try a different approach. She raised her voice and said “the first one to sit-up in their chair gets a prize!”  No one moved again, so I opened the discussion and asked why hasn't anyone moved? A young man in the corner explained “we are not kids anymore, I don´t even believe there´s really a prize; and even if there were a prize I would just wait for her to turn the corner to go back to slouching in my chair again.”

I then asked the whole class to brainstorm possible ways to avoid “quick fixes” and get people to want to sit-up in their chair even long-after their supervisor leaves. After 5 minutes or so of real mental effort to think, they came up with an effective way to get people to want to sit-up straight in their chair long-term.

“In Sales, being able to bond and build rapport is the biggest factor of wether you sell or not, and when it comes to out-bound sales over the phone, the only effective tool you have to build rapport, is your voice. The pitch, tone and speed of your voice is affected by your mood and even by the way you sit in your chair. In order to achieve your sales goal for the day, strengthen your voice by sitting-up straight and bond with your prospects!”

I concluded the demonstration by explaining how easy and ineffective it truly is to begin communicating the what we want rather than taking the time to think of a good and understandable why and presenting that first. By doing so your influence lasts longer, even when your not physically there to supervise. 

Now the invitation is yours! Want people to want what you want in order to get them to effectively do what you say as a leader? Then begin with the Why starting today!

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Jared Castro

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