Seth Godin’s book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us brings home the idea that more than products, more than efficient labour, more than ideas, the world needs leaders. That leaders create movements and that movements create revolutions.
He explains how over the course of the industrial revolution and well into the age of information, the role of today’s manager has changed. But has it changed enough? While we used to focus on exploiting resources to the fullest and squeezing as much productivity out of the workforce as possible we now see that this is unsustainable and quite ineffective.
We still separate management from employees by class, by salary and education chasing profit above organizational, environmental and sustainability. Godin convincingly argues that today’s manager should not only treat its workforce as a valuable asset but should also motivate its workforce helping to champion the cultivation of leadership skills from all. Seth reminds me of how Haruka Nishimatsu, Japan Airlines CEO cut his salary to match his employees and eats in the cafeteria waiting in the same line everyone else does. Here is a CNN interview on why he chooses to lead this way. It’s truly fascinating and I believe necessary.
After reading Tribes and listening to the audio book twice I have come to contemplate this notion that creating a culture of leaders in a workplace is not only effective, it is essential. Here are seven steps to building effectiveness throughout your organization.
Consider your own and your team’s ideas as valuable.
Encourage sharing of information.
Be aware of your own and your team’s feelings. Encourage people to express what they are uncomfortable expressing. This step is critical. It is often these un-vocalized feelings that hold back effectiveness. Bringing them to the light in a sensitive and compassionate manner helps to release them. Please note, should you as a boss not feel comfortable with receiving information about other people’s feelings then create an anonymous “feeling collector” so that staff can express feelings in a manner that feels safe.
“I work better on my own” may not always be true. I have read in various management texts that it is a fear-based statement. While there is a time for individual working, problem solving tasks are almost always more effective in a group setting. It is this reason why think tanks, mastermind groups and the likes are far more effective than solitary work when it comes to solving problems.
Encourage listening in brainstorming meetings. Some people love to hear the sound of their own voices and some people do not like to speak at all. For meetings to be effective, it is essential that people should all be listening and the only person talking is the one who has something of value to add.
Be clear. Great leaders have a clear objective and are able to clearly articulate the vision throughout the organization and to all its stakeholders.
Know your goals. Almost always, we get into a car with an idea of where we are going. If we do not know the route we plug in GPS and the steps to get to the destination are given to us. Similarly, to be effective, we need to clearly know the action steps prior to engaging in activities. Without knowing the goals, the steps the leader and its team make will be very busy but mostly ineffective.
Before starting your next project I encourage you to follow these seven steps to becoming a more effective team. Let me know how it goes for you.
Since 1994, Rishi Deva, founder and CEO of RishiVision and entrepreneurial coach, has empowered thousands of businesses. Rishi has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and a BBA in accounting. He has spent nearly twenty years coaching, consulting, managing and supporting thousands of businesses from new startups to active global leaders.