The S.E.C.R.E.T of Leadership

The S.E.C.R.E.T of Leadership

The S.E.C.R.E.T of Leadership

By Mark Wager

The reason why we value great leaders so highly is because they are so rare. Leadership, especially good leadership, is difficult to achieve. There are numerous reasons for this. In fact too many to share in this article but the main reason so many good smart people fail to become effective leaders is because leading is all about influencing people and people are incredibly complex.

The quality that makes people so wonderful is also the same quality that makes leadership so difficult which is that people are so unique. Everyone is a unique combination of different values, beliefs, personalities and life experiences which makes people react differently to the same situation. If a leader wants to motivate their team they are faced with the reality that what motivates one person doesn't always motivate others, which raises the question -Just just how do the best leaders consistently achieve success after success. What is their secret?

As a Leadership Coach, I've spent many years working alongside leaders and teams from a range of industries and it's become apparent that the most successful leaders understand the fundamentals of human needs. Underneath the complexities that make us so unique are a set of basic human needs that we all share regardless of where we come from or who we work for. These needs drive our behaviours and determines our level of motivation and commitment to any task. Once understood, you can identify and use these behaviours to create and lead a high performing team.

To make this leadership secret easy to remember, I've associated the key lessons to each letter of the word secret so you can learn in a few minutes what many leaders have spent a lifetime discovering.

S is for Significance
People need to feel valued and have a sense that there is a reason for coming to work that's greater than money. I'm not saying that money is not important, it definitely is and is a clear indicator of how much a company values an individual but to truly motivate a successful team a leader has to go beyond money. A leader needs to establish a purpose for the team that is not only greater than the individuals but also a reason why the individuals within the team have been selected. Make people understand this and they will feel significant.

E is for Enjoyment
The Manager of Liverpool football club is Jurgen Klopp, an experienced Manager with a reputation of being a master motivator yet when asked about his secret of motivation he replied that there was no secret, motivation is just about creating an environment that makes people feel good. Human beings are designed to avoid pain and go towards pleasure, great leaders make sure that being part of their team is not only a rewarding experience but also a pleasurable one as well. A smile is one of the valuable things you can find in an office.

C is for Clarity
The next basic human need is the need for clarity. Human beings stopped being neanderthals when the human brain developed the part of the brain that allows for imagination. The ability to imagine the outcome of potential events helped humans survive throughout the years and is present today. It's so powerful that if we imagine a poor outcome our body physically reacts. We feel stressed and nervous yet when we imagine a positive outcome we feel happy and excitable. As a leader make sure your team is fully aware of what's going to happen and the consequences of any action so that people know what to expect and don't imagine fears or concerns that are not there.

R is for Relationships
Most likely the most powerful human need is the need to form and develop relationships. We are at our very core pack animals, our survival depends on our ability to become part of a pack to such a degree that there has been numerous studies that show people within teams who adopt the common behaviours of the team even if that behaviour is not something they agree with. If a team adopts certain habits then eventually everyone within that team will adopt the same habit. A leader needs to establish relationships and even friendships within a team because during my whole career I've never met a highly successful team that didn't have a close bond between them.

E is for Evolution
People by their very nature seek out opportunities to grow, learn new skills and knowledge. It's even been discovered that there's a chemical within the brain called dopamine that is released whenever you achieve something that explains the sensation you feel when you overcome a challenge. Studies within workplaces show that employees achieve their highest level of motivation during the first year of their job and with each subsequent year become less and less motivated. Leaders need to continually develop and challenge their team to grow and the team the individuals have to grow.

T is for Trust
Finally none of the above human needs mean anything to the individuals if the leader is unable to establish the need for Trust. While this is the easiest to understand it is also the most difficult to establish if lost. People want to look up to their leaders, they want to see the qualities in the leaders that they personally either take pride in possessing or strive to obtain. You can attend countless leadership workshops but if your actions do not match your words then you will always struggle to effectively lead. Start by doing what you say you are going to do and then you will build trust. Leaders know that the best way to build a team is to build trust.

Posted: Thursday 30 March 2017

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