The 3 Secrets of Great Leadership
Success leaves clues, and my experience has taught me that all successful leaders do three things; they influence the way their people feel, think and ultimately, act.
The greatest impact that any of us can have is to influence someone. Leadership is about influencing and the growth and development of your people is the highest calling leadership.
I have often remarked that leadership is simple but not easy. Successful leaders make leadership easy – by keeping it simple.
So how do the great businesses and the great leaders influence the way their people feel?
John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, said the deepest urge in human nature is ’the desire to feel important’. The author, Maya Angelou, expressed this same sentiment eloquently when she said:
‘People will forget what you said, people will forget how you said it, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
Great leaders understand that their people work best when they feel good about themselves. Great businesses understand that customers buy best when they feel good about themselves.
In influencing the way their people feel, great leaders influence the way their people think.
Apple is one of the leading businesses in the world today. Why? Apple understands the power of simplicity for capturing the hearts and minds of their customers. It is no coincidence that Apple’s strapline is captured in two very simple words – ‘think different’.
Barack Obama occupies the highest leadership position on the planet today. Why? His eloquent communication skills and all-inclusive message summed up in the very simple mantra of ’yes we can‘ was the catalyst that changed the thinking of a nation and persuaded millions of Americans to make Obama their first black President in 2008.
In influencing the way their people feel and think, great leaders influence the way their people act.
There’s a lovely story told about Steve Jobs at 14 years old. One morning his stepfather asked him to paint their garden fence. The fence was very long so Steve Jobs worked really hard to try to have the whole fence painted in time for his stepdad’s return from work at 5 pm.
By 3 pm Jobs had the entire fence painted inside and outside so he decided to give the outside of the fence a second coat of paint. When his stepdad returned home the young Jobs ran excitedly to his stepdad’s car:
’Dad, Dad, I’ve got the whole fence painted. I gave the inside one coat and I gave the outside two coats’.
’But why did you only give the inside one coat?’ queried the stepdad.
‘No one will see it’ said Jobs.
‘But we’ll see it’ came the reply.
It was a lesson the young Steve Jobs would later apply in business.
Jobs told about the day an enthusiastic engineer approached him with a newly finished iPad. The engineer was so pleased about how neat and sleek and tidy the new iPad looked. Jobs removed the back cover, and spotting a component that wasn’t fitted properly he remarked:
“That component is not straight”.
‘No one will see it” retorted the engineer.
’But we’ll see it’ replied Jobs – and thereafter he insisted that every engineer initial the inside of every Apple product.
So we come back to the point that great leaders and businesses, in influencing the way their people feel and think, will influence the way their people act.
JJ Lynch is an international motivational speaker and author and is available to speak at conferences, seminars, business networking meetings and company away days.
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