One of the most crucial life principles is this: “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Collaboration is a critical soft skill that is required to accomplish work on a larger scale. It is a much sought-after skill by employers, and employees are eager to demonstrate their ability to work with others. While the culture increasingly celebrates independence, the reality of life is that we can’t get very far by being truly independent.
A simple way to define a leader as one who have followers. In social media, the worth of an influencer is determined by the number of followers they have. If you look at leadership as influencing others who follow you, we get into this tricky territory of managing people and their expectations. Often, a leader focuses on completing the task so, they get carried away by the deadlines and are bogged down by the need to manage scarce resources such as time and money most of the time.
Where do people fall on the long list of resources? Sadly, not on the top of the list. Gladly this is not a universal situation. FedEx Chairman Fred Smith says, “Our corporate philosophy is succinctly stated: People-Service-Profits.” I wrote about this specific order for a business to follow to guarantee success in a previous blog here. Consultant John Luther sums it up perfectly “Natural talent, intelligence, a great education – none of these guarantees success. Something else is needed: the sensitivity to understand what other people want and a willingness to give it to them.”
“Natural talent, intelligence, a wonderful education – none of these guarantees success. Something else is needed: the sensitivity to understand what other people want and a willingness to give it to them.” John Luther
As a leader, if you think I want to give people what they want, then the question becomes what people generally want. In his book Today Matters, John Maxwell makes 7 observations of people’s needs.
I believe people fall into all the 7 things at one time or other. Also, they will have one default state that they will go to. As a leader working alongside them, you should make a note of that and work to bridge the gap.
People are insecure
Insecurity is a common cause for people to limit themselves from their true potential. They lack the confidence to openly share their ideas and experience but prefer to take a back seat and go with the flow. A team’s efficiency is lost when members of the team are satisfied with the minimum. If you are insecure about yourself, remember Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God with thanksgiving. Also, Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
You, as a leader, can help bridge this gap by giving them confidence. Ask for their opinion, show that you respect and value their input. They will be hesitant at first, but they will slowly come out of their shell when they realize they are part of the team.
People want to feel special
1 Thessalonians 5: 11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Sincerely compliment the strengths of the people and appreciates their accomplishments towards the goals of the team. Focus on the ability of the individual rather than their weakness, and think about how you can leverage their strength for the benefit of the team.
People want to desire a better tomorrow
If you are anxious about what tomorrow has in store, Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” All your needs are met by God. As a leader, show others this hope. Help them plan for their future. Proverbs 21: 5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance. Show them the way to abundance.
Charles Spurgeon advised, “Carve your name on hearts and not on marble.” As a leader, work towards leaving a mark in the lives of the people you work with and not just on the work itself.
People need to be understood
Listen to the people, and you will learn what is important to them. You will learn where they are coming from, why they do what they do. King Solomon puts it this way in Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 2:2 says, “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.” Use your ears to listen and your heart to understand. Using today’s buzz words, Solomon is advising us to show emotional intelligence.
People are selfish
We all are selfish. As a child, we show it freely, but we learn to hide it efficiently as we get older. Ask yourself what does that member of my team wants? In Philippians 2:4, Paul writes, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” In 1 Corinthians 10:24, he writes, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” People don’t care about what you know and can do; they want to know how much you care about them. Care for their needs, and your needs will be taken care of in due time.
People are emotionally low
Paul was an exceptional leader; you see him encouraging the believers in the churches he established as he understood they were going through challenging times. Your team members may be undergoing some things in their personal life; encourage them. In Romans 15:13, we read, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In your personal life, if you are facing challenging times, then read the mindset of Paul. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
People want to be associated with success
“So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Follow the golden rule here. As a leader, you want to win, so help others succeed, and then they will help you accomplish your goals.
Helen Keller said, “life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others.” Your life will impact when you work to fill the gap in the lives of the people with whom you work.
John Maxwell shares a principle called ‘The 101 principle,’ and I believe it is a great way to approach people. Look for 1 thing you admire in others and give them 100 percent encouragement for it. What better way to bridge the gap as a leader?
Here are a couple of things for you to do as an influencer as you start this journey.
Pick someone new each week to invest in this strategy and write handwritten notes to appreciate them every week.
What can you do today to improve your influence on your team?