Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?
Use this simple way to hush the CEOs in a room. Why would anyone want to be led by you, you should ask them. During the past ten years, we have been advising dozens of businesses in Europe and the US, and we have posed just that question. The response is invariably a startled stillness. The only sound you hear is knees slapping.
Business leaders have ample reason to be anxious. Without followers, you can accomplish nothing in business, and it’s challenging to get followers in these “empowered” times. Executives must therefore understand what it takes to lead effectively; they must devise strategies for energizing staff members to support organizational objectives. So who can blame them when most people don’t know how? Simply put, there is too much advice available. More than 2,000 leadership books were produced in the past year alone, some of which even recast Shakespeare and Moses as leadership gurus Be Led.
We haven’t yet heard advice about leadership that is completely accurate. Certainly, there is universal agreement that leaders require vision, vigor, power, and strategic direction. That should be obvious. Nevertheless, we’ve found that inspirational leaders also have these four unexpected traits in common Be Led:
- They demonstrate their approachability and humanity by showing a little weakness.
- They can gather and evaluate soft data, which aids them in determining when and how to take action.
- Motivating leaders care deeply about the work their team members perform and have a strong sense of empathy for others.
- They make the most of their individuality Be Led.
- Without these traits, you can end up in a top position, but few others will want to follow you Be Led.
It should be highlighted that our idea of the four fundamental characteristics of leadership does not focus on results per se. Our research has mostly focused on leaders who are excellent at inspiring people—in winning over hearts, minds, and souls—even though many of the leaders we have studied and used as examples do produce higher financial returns. Even while this skill isn’t everything in business, any seasoned leader will tell you it is still incredibly valuable. Outstanding outcomes might not be feasible without them Be Led.
About 25 years ago, we started researching leadership, and three streams have since emerged. To create our practical working model of good leadership, we scholars first combed over the most well-known leadership theories of the last century Be Led.
(For further information on the development of leadership theory, see “Leadership: A Little History of a Huge Subject” in the sidebar.) Second, as consultants, we have put our theory to the test with tens of thousands of executives across the globe in workshops and through client observations. Third, we have tested our theories within our organizations as executives Be Led.
When leaders own their flaws, they show us the true nature of who they are. This may entail acknowledging that they get cranky on Mondays, are a little unorganized, or are even somewhat bashful. Such acknowledgments are effective because before followers can gladly join an activity, they need to see leaders admit some weakness Be Led.
Establishing trust through the disclosure of a shortcoming encourages buy-in from others. CEOs won’t need anyone’s assistance with anything if they strive to project the idea that they are flawless at everything. They won’t require adherents. They’ll indicate that they can handle everything on their own Be Led.
Communicating a weakness not only fosters a culture of trust and cooperation but also strengthens the bond between followers and leaders. Think about a senior executive we know who works for a large management consulting firm. Although being severely affected by bodily tremors brought on by a medical condition, he decided to give a significant presentation Be Led.
Standing ovations were given by the crowd, which was usually very critical, in response to this brave display of frailty. He dared to proclaim, “I am just like you—imperfect,” in the talk. Revealing a flaw highlights a person’s humanity, which is why doing so is so powerful. Virgin founder Richard Branson is regarded as a hero in the UK and a skilled businessman. (In fact, because of how closely he is associated with the Virgin brand, succession is a major concern Be Led.)