One of the quotes that was taught to me very early in my leadership career was Zig Ziglar’s famous quote “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want”. There are many variations of this quote, all amounting to the same thing: Serve others and you will succeed.
There has been a rise in the talk about servant leadership over the years. I often hear people refer to themselves as servant leaders, and I have wondered “what makes one person a servant leader over another?” Personally, I struggle with the term (It’s just me). *Get more information on servant leadership. I think “leadership” encompasses a lot of things, and one of those things is definitely giving back, I actually don’t believe you are a leader if you are not in some way serving others, so is the term really needed?
I was doing some research this week on an upcoming Dale Carnegie leadership course, the famous author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It was interesting, how many people at the course spoke about how asking people questions about themselves had led to having better relationships at work. I was intrigued by this, because being in the sales business, I have noticed how more and more I have had to teach team members to listen and be curious about people. We live in a distracted world and listening seems to be more and more a lost art.
As I was working on building the platform for the relationship building aspect of Happy Leadership, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on goal setting. How do you create an environment that allows for the best goals to be set? How do you identify what really sparks people? What does it take to help people grow? I have continuously seen year after year, that when I accomplish these things, I create a relationship that allows for amazing mutual purpose. Everyone winning. When those who work for me are winning, they stay working for me. But more importantly there is something extra there, they fight for not only me, but each other and that shows character.
I decided this week I would share three of the resources I have loved over the years on Influence, Goal Setting, and Relationship Building. Hopefully you find the resources helpful as well. I have included links to the book summaries as well.
Influencer; written by Joseph Grenny and Kerry Patterson
This book is probably one of the most impactful books I have ever read. Vitalsmarts offers a series of books and development courses on communication. In these courses you learn about their “Six Sources of Influence”. Influencer was the book that really helped me “get it”. It helps you see how people don’t change by having only one aspect of their life influenced. You need to really need to tap into multiple aspects of someone’s life to impact lasting change. This is critical to understand when creating development plans and growth strategies with your team. How many times have you wondered why the plan just isn’t working? What has always stuck with me about this book and this philosophy is the impact on change we can have by spending time understanding someone’s reason behind doing things. We are so fast to make a decision, or conclusion about reasons behind someone’s behaviour, however when you open your mind to truly hearing and understanding someone amazing things happen!
I already mentioned How to Win Friends and Influence People written by Dale Carnegie, but you can’t possibly talk about relationship Building without referencing this book! This book was published in 1936 and has sold over 30 million copies. It is the gold standard in relationship building books. One of the principals I from the book, I believe people need to excel at to be a great leader is “be genuinely interested in other people”. You cannot possibly help others to become better if you don’t make time to know them. This means being curious about them. This means paying attention to what makes their eyes sparkle. This means listening for when their voice picks up pace. This means identifying when they change their body language (for the good or the bad), and knowing what that change is telling you about the situation. Being interested in someone as their leader means taking ownership of the fact that you are in a position of “power” and because of this you need to take the lead in watching, questioning and listening with genuine interest. We cannot expect that our employees should take the lead in the relationship building step. We set the tone. We lay out the boundaries. We make it safe.
When I was researching I came across a tool that I use all the time, however I had never heard it termed this way before, “Playing to your home court advantage” by Michael Ellsberg. The concept behind this is that instead of asking questions of someone to their own expertise, you instead ask questions that help identify challenges they may have so you can come up with ways you can help them with those challenges. It is an interesting concept, and one that I think the best sales people use all the time. I also think the best business goal setters use this tool as well. In order to help people get what they want (thank you Zig Ziglar) you need to know what they need that YOU can offer them. You don’t need to be an expert in all things, you simply need to know how to best use what you can offer to help others.
One of my “special skills”, I have an incredible memory for the smallest of details about people. I listen to what people tell me and can remember things. Usually this involves knowing where people work and what they do. How does this help me? Over the years I have become known as the person who knows everyone. You need a plumber- I have a guy! You need a generator- I may know a guy! You need a new car- I have a girl for that! I refer people to others ALL THE TIME! What does this get me? Great relationships! AND a reputation for being someone who will help you with whatever you need, even if it is indirectly.
I feel like I would be remiss to finish this summary without mention of Steven Covey- The 7 habits of Highly Effective People.
One of the most common limiting factors in everything we do is time. Making the time to learn about your team members needs to be considered a priority. Making time to help your people get what they want, should be planned in every single month. You need to know each month what is going to make them tick, this is how you get the most out of them. Stephen Covey teaches this in his third habit “Put First things First”. We should be spending 80% of our time on the things that are important but not urgent. This is where the time with our people falls into.
Enjoy the summaries of these awesome tools, or take the time to read the whole book (they are way better!). Regardless this week, challenge yourself as the new month begins to really learn something new about those who you work with, or your own family members, or kids you coach… I promise it will pay dividends!