I was listening to an online recording the other day and the question was posed, “Are you looking for love or are you looking for someone to love you?” Great question, right?!
It certainly got me thinking … which is why it quickly became my “Question of the Week” for friends and clients. Of course, a great conversation and light-hearted debate followed, but then I couldn’t help but take the same question and apply it to coaching and leadership in the form of this: “Are you looking for others to follow you or are you looking to be a leader?” It’s another great question, maybe not so easily answered.
One of my coaching clients is having a challenge with his approach and how he is perceived by coworkers. Expecting them to deal with his abrasive communication style has “worked” up to this point. But not any longer. He is getting feedback from employees and peers that he is, “hard to work for,” “a dictator,” and that people in the organization are afraid to address him. Unknowingly, he has expected his team and colleagues to adjust to how HE communicates. However, this expected followership isn’t working for him … or them.
Are you looking for others to follow you or are you looking to be a leader?
The only wrong answer is both. Because there is a big difference. If your intention is to lead others then your approach to situations and leading will be far more powerful than if you are looking for others to follow you. By earning the respect and trust of others, you will be far more likely to inspire the actions that are needed to accomplish your goals.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for people to follow you the results that you initially obtain will begin to diminish. Your actions would be about coercing, directing or commanding others to do what is necessary to accomplish the objectives at hand. Over time your followers will learn to do what is expected of them … likely nothing more, nothing less.
As leaders it is our job to make final decisions. And, there are situations when leaders must take the responsibility and adjust their leadership and communication style in order to accomplish the goals and objectives of the company. Beginning with a conscious decision to be a leader – rather than obtain followers – makes all the difference in how you will approach leading and the outcomes you’ll receive.
Our disposition and approach to what we do matters – whether in leadership or in love. Choosing an empowered approach wins every time.
In what ways have you adjusted your approach and/or disposition to create a new outcome?