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Leader Equals Motivator

Leader Equals Motivator

I am a keen collector. Not antiques - I am actually a Scandi style follower and a minimalist. I collect seasoned leaders' tips, advice, and techniques on how to be a successful leader.

I have a rich collection by now. And as every collector does, I've come to the point when I want to share it with the world.

Usually if I hear advice from a seasoned leader, I make a goal to practice it. You will probably ask how I can cope with practicing all the advice I collect. I don't. I practice one at a time.

Putting theory into practice gives me two valuable benefits: I can check if 1) This particular practice is something I can adopt, and 2) It actually works for me. If it is something I decide to adopt, I keep practicing it until it becomes automatic, so I don't have to make an effort to remember or use it. It should become my way of dealing with situations on an ongoing basis.

Today I wanted to share Case Study #1 from a recent practical leadership lesson.

[Related: Three Leadership Lessons From the Mountains]

To be a successful leader, learn to motivate people.

I heard this from a very successful lady, whose career is breathtaking, whose choices were well thought out, and who seemed to remain truthful to herself while climbing her career ladder (which we know is never easy). So, my source of advice was totally reliable and I dashed to practice it.

The opportunity came almost immediately. I became part of a squad working to deliver a complex project over the period of a few months. My colleagues were much more experienced, with longer stints in their positions under their belts (read: "low levels of engagement,” unfortunately), and a bit territorial.

They were not buying into the idea of having to work as a group for a few months. Authority-wise, we were equal in the group, so I couldn’t exercise that muscle, so to speak. I decided to try to motivate them to get engaged and work as a group.

[Related: Celebrating the New Breed of Leaders]

I love what I do and it came easy: I was enthusiastic, volunteering, kept the ball rolling, and totally believed in the importance of the project. I tried to portray this very clearly.

I was surprised to see how fast the group pulled together. Eventually, we started to work together and not against each other. The most amazing transformation was to see how the attitude changed: literally from “don’t bother me” to “it was my idea.” Perfect!

Once people get to the stage where they want to make things happen, your burden to push it all forward vanishes. However, if there is another natural leader in a group, be prepared for this to cause friction. Seeing you starting to lead the rest of the team triggers their natural competitiveness, and they will try to test your limits.

I've applied the technique many times, in different scenarios, and it works 100%. I'm definitely keeping it in my arsenal.

[Related: We Create Our Own Monsters]

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Irina Fulcher's goal in any role is to achieve real change. She embraces diversity, new opportunities, and challenges in her career.


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