Personal Leadership: It’s All About the People, Stupid!

Personal-LeadershipIt’s been reported that Henry Ford once said, “Why is it that I always get the whole person, when what I really want is a pair of hands?” While Ford may have only wanted to hire sets of hands to run his assembly lines, the only way to do that was to hire the people attached to those hands: people with complex baggage, personalities, and expectations.

One of the important elements of personal leadership is to lead the people within your team. After all, if there are no people to lead, then there is no leader! I have worked with lots of leaders that absolutely HATE dealing with people. Many leaders just want to tell their people the goal, and then expect them to just go out and create amazing success without any guidance, coaching, managing, or …leading.

Part of being a great leader is to master the art of valuing the people you work with, while at the same time holding them accountable for the results. By creating a culture where people are valued, we can be more effective in achieving desired results. In other words, people are not just means to an end, but must be valued for their contributions and perspectives. This does not mean they need to be coddled or sheltered.

Personal leadership is all about relationships with those you lead. Simply learning the names of one’s team-members is not sufficient to building a strong team of committed workers, although it s start.  By learning their values, skills and dreams, you learn how they see themselves within the organizational structure.  Instead of simply evaluating their work, seek opportunities for them to provide feedback on the organization.  Take care to listen, and see if you can incorporate their ideas.

As you demonstrate that you value the contributions of your team-members, you will find that they are more likely to think outside of the box.  They may see things you may have missed, and you may discover a wealth of skills and abilities you have previously missed.  As morale improves, so will productivity and results. Creating a culture of creativity and excellence will require you to view people as ends, not simply as means to an end.

What ways have you found to lead the entire person, instead of just hiring a pair of hands?  What are some of the complexities of leading people with their personalities, perspectives, and personal baggage?  Please leave a comment below to continue the conversation.

About Todd Nielsen

Todd Nielsen helps organizations create miracles of success and profitability through the power of execution. Having served as Vice-President, President, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of organizations, he has learned how to create a culture that "Gets Things Done." He is passionate about leadership, and is a dynamic and inspirational speaker.

Comments

  1. Loved this, Todd. As you point out, back in the day all “leaders” wanted was that part of you that helped them accomplish their goal. There wasn’t a lot of recognition that the whole person showed up…fast forward to now where there’s more awareness that the hands can’t be happy and productive unless the rest of the person is too. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of the old-style management stuff out there. Leaders at every level need to listen to this message. Thanks for moving the ball down the field a little further….

  2. true.. leader without followers is meaningless. so to be good and effective leader you have to develop certain qualities inside you. this is very nice post.

  3. NAAB GREGORY says:

    leadership is all about relationship. A leader WITHOUT followers is a dead leader.A leader should employ the five practices and ten commitments of leadership as propounded by Kouzes and posner in leadership challenge

  4. Todd,

    Great thoughts. It is really important to start to see employees as more than just labor, I like how you bring up the fact that if allowed to think outside the box people will come up with great ideas. In addition there are no better people to help change damaged systems with in a company than those in the trenches everyday. All leaders must do is guide and allow good people to do their best.

    Marvin Lemus

  5. This was such a great post to read and really self affirming as well. I especially liked the line, “Part of being a great leader is to master the art of valuing the people you work with, while at the same time holding them accountable for the results” – I think many CEOs/bosses/managers, etc have so much going on that it’s easy to forget the people who are there working to make their business run successfully and effectively. s a very new “boss” myself I am always thinking back to past experiences with ex employers who motivated me, angered me, scared me, etc and I try to use those positive experiences on my own employees! I also have been actively searching the internet for suggestions and proven methods of effective leadership. In my research I was lucky to come across the book by author Bill Sims Jr. Green Beans & Ice Cream (http://greenbeanleadership.com/). The author is well known for designing behavior-based recognition and reward programs for companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Disney. He explains the best and the worst ways to motivate people, how to use positive reinforcement correctly, and most importantly how a behavior change can turn around your whole business. The book shows there are three different kinds of positive reinforcement. There is tangible reinforcement in the form of money. There is social reinforcement in the form of verbal praise. There is also self positive reinforcement; this is motivation to do a good job for the pure love of the job. The author backs up these practices with anecdotes, examples, and official research. While the book focuses on improving work performances, its lessons can also be used in daily life, in families, and in other personal relationships. It’s helped me a lot and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it

  6. Really interesting post, thank you. I love the link to Ford’s points and it echoes a discussion we were having the other day about being people focused – where one partner was more people focused but less good at the social chat and one liked the social but then jumped straight to the goals

  7. Todd
    Thanks for this. I agree so much with the relationship comments. I also see many managers of teams who hate to lead – why do they take such positions? No one wins. I believe at times it is the “Peter Principal.” I also believe that you don’t have to have a team to be a leader. Leadership starts with ones self and is a choice not position.
    I look forward to discussing future ideas with you.

  8. Nice reminder Todd!

    We all love a good listening to! We collect and repay units of recognition! Individualised attention is free and quick. It takes les than two minutes of your time but often makes someone else’s day!

  9. Todd,

    Good article. Leadership has many qualities and good people skills are essential particularly when working with teams in the knowledge economy.

    Joe Wozny
    Author of The Digital Dollar

Trackbacks

  1. […] Many leaders just want to tell their people the goal, and then expect them to just go out and create amazing success without any guidance, coaching, managing, or …leading. Leadership is all about the people one leads.  […]

  2. [...] Many leaders just want to tell their people the goal, and then expect them to just go out and create amazing success without any guidance, coaching, managing, or …leading. Leadership is all about the people one leads.  [...]

  3. [...] Many leaders just want to tell their people the goal, and then expect them to just go out and create amazing success without any guidance, coaching, managing, or …leading. Leadership is all about the people one leads.  [...]

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