Saturday, January 12, 2013

People leaders are bridge builders

During the past 20 years of professional experience leading people I've been working on consolidating my leadership principles. As I mentioned in a previous article One rule and 6 steps to drive employee engagement I feel I got to something valuable. Today I have one of the most engaged team of employees working with me. No easy feat during these turbulent times.

What if I told you that this was achieved through building bridges? What if I told you your job as a leader is to build bridges? Some of them long and solid, some high. You may ask bridges to where, for whom and why? What for?

Well, I define the role of real people leaders as bridge builders. Our role when it comes to the people we lead is not for selfish growth and fame. It’s a selfless responsibility of serving others through valuable and rare skills. The skill of providing clarity to people looking for answers about their future and how to get there.

The majority of people unconsciously know in their hearts what they want in life. Few will ever realize that and turn into action. They lack the understanding or the courage to make it happen. However, when you help by removing the fog around and allowing them to find out where they want to go you will see their inner lights shine while they fulfill their potential. Then you build a bridge.

When you are helping building the bridge to your people you will have to resolve 3 simple yet critical puzzles. I’ll share them here and break them down in future articles:

  1. The process of building a bridge starts with a fundamental question one must answer: where do they want to go? If one doesn't know where to go she shouldn't spend energy moving because she may be just going to the wrong direction anyway. As a leader facilitating that process it takes time and patience.
  2. The second puzzle is for the individual to clearly understand where they are.Another critical step of self discovery and self awareness that great people leaders must facilitate. If one can’t accept where she really is and believes she’s somewhere else, you can’t start building the bridge for the individual won’t be able to find it.
  3. And finally the final step. Once the present location and destination are fully realized by the individual, the leader will be able to start the construction. In some cases the distance between the points is great and will require a few hops. Sometimes the depth of the valley between the points is great and will require time for building solid foundations. Those analogies translate into people development approaches the leader will apply.

When people comprehend a leader’s main motivation is helping constructing bridges to their desired future, they will reciprocate, work hard and be loyal. It’s also a fact you may lose some people along the way. Some for good reasons if they found their desired destination is in a different path. Even in that case, they will respect you for life for you helped them finding their true path. The reward for all this incredibly demanding leadership task is a highly engaged and performing workforce along with the gratifying realization of seeing people fulfill their dreams; a people leader’s ultimate accomplishment.

Stay tuned for next articles with insights about how to execute the 3 steps above.

Author   |   Home

1 comment:

  1. Love it Vinicius. Alignment of goals and employee self-interest is critical to leadership and organizational growth. Looking forward to seeing more on this from you.