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People part 1

Follow the leader

It has been said that if you influence people to follow then you will be a leader ... but with certain limitations.
If, on the other hand, you can influence people to become leaders in their turn then you will become a leader without limitations.

  • If you know how to do a job you are merely a worker
  • If you demonstrate a task you are a coach or teacher
  • If you can inspire people to work you are a manager

If you are competent in all these areas you can consider yourself a leader.

Many people will improve their skills in working with people and that is what the leader is looking for when developing followers.

To improve your leadership skills you must value people as individuals as well as a source of resource.
You must give them a vision of where they can be in the future. In order to influence those people you must demonstrate integrity and commit your time (see The Complete Time Management package) in terms of coaching and general guidance.

If you can apply these aspects you will improve motivation.

Positive assessment

Most people will assess another individual when they meet them.
The same will be true of leaders.
In addition, the leader must look a little below the veneer of an individual to try to find out their true character.
The leader can accomplish this by asking relevant questions.
This is important as negative assumptions can lead to a negative approach which may lower motivation.

Everybody has needs and finding these out is a large key to getting the best out of people.Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs looked at this area.

People watching

Whilst individuals need understanding to get the best out of them many characteristics are common.

People respond first to the individual rather than their position. This is very evident for a leader.
If the leader displays positive traits it is more likely that their team will do the same.

Many people do not plan their careers. They will often trip over successes.
If you do not learn from failure then you will quickly fail again.
Forward thinking and planning is very important.

Most individuals are already motivated to carry out tasks. The trick is to maximise this energy and focus it properly.
People usually fail due to actions that afford de-motivation. Encourage their natural enthusiasm by establishing the correct environment.

Get people involved in the decision making process and they will more easily come on board with your ideas.
Explain the purpose of the task. Without clear direction and a worthwhile endpoint people will be less interested in the task.

Don’t see problems as a bad thing. They will occur. It is how you handle them that matters.
Learn from problems.

Make sure you recognise people’s achievements.

The above are key positive attitudes.
Equally, a few negative attitudes can have a serious de-motivating affect.

Try not to put people down. If you have to discipline someone do it in private and not in public.
Create opportunities for their personal growth and don’t inhibit people.
Listen to what people have to say. Don’t be impatient or show a lack of sensitivity.

If you are selfishly motivated for your own ends you will be seen to manipulate people.
To motivate people the end result must derive from a shared benefit.

Dealing with people issues

When issues arise with people it is often hard to confront the situation and deal with it effectively.

As with any time you need to speak to an individual concerning their performance do it in private.

Timing is critical. Do it as soon as possible. Make sure you are in possession of the full facts. Time delays can cloud the facts of the case.

Focus on one issue at a time and don’t labour a point once it has been made.

Any confrontational meeting should contain some positive comments.
Don’t make it all negative.

Don’t get angry when you criticise but convert these to suggestions for improvement. If an individual does not have the power to change something don’t ask them to do it.

If you are trying to change someone consider their strengths and weaknesses.
Get them to work more in their areas of strength which will help to improve their motivation.

Even though you may be dealing with difficult issues don’t forget to listen.
If the meeting is purely focussed on your needs and the other person doesn’t have a chance to speak there will be less likelihood of a positive outcome.