Inspire and Influence – Leading Others

In an edited extract from his new book, Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond JAY SULLIVAN, managing partner at Exec|Comm LLC, shares his theory of leadership and explains the advantages of motivating and challenging others.

Your Vision

To lead people, you must know where you want to take them and articulate it clearly. Your vision is broader than a set of specific actions, but more concrete than a vague statement of ideals. It’s a long-range goal for how you want your team or organization to be structured and function. It is, ultimately, where you are telling your followers that they are headed.

Martin Luther King Jr., verbalized his quest for equality through his vision that his children could one day be, “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Note that he didn’t define success as the passage of a particular law; he defined success as an innate change in people’s hearts. He was leading us to evolution rather than revolution.

Leading is about others. But leading others to be complacentor to wallow in their own pity isn’t the goal of a positive, effective leader. Great leadership is about challenging and motivating others to achieve, to improve, and to grow. As with your statement of values, your vision must be about others rather than about you and it must be expressed in language that engages and motivates. You have to express ideas with the same clarity with which you express your values.

If you reviewed the minutes of the last meeting you led would you read a clearly articulated statement of where your firm is headed? How much of the language pertains to your group’s performance to date, rather than to the goal for the next 12 months? Does where you are now bear any resemblance to the goal you set for yourself last year? If the current plan is not designed to get you where you want to go, determine whether the goal is SMART:

Relevant, and

If your vision doesn’t meet these criteria, you can’t achieve it, because it isn’t well-defined.

Read the full article in Education Executive.

Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond by Jay Sullivan was published in October 2016

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