Leadership in this age relies more on motivation and interpersonal influence than on getting other to comply through a chain of command or hierarchy. I have experienced, in more than one occasion, where the ability to motivate and interpersonal influence achieved greater results than simple instructions through a chain of command. I have also witnessed leaders with tremendous potential who failed because they ignored this very primal need.
I was reading a book by Beth Comstock, “Imagine It Forward” and she referenced Jack Welch as very charismatic individual where his presence is felt very personally by each employee, despite GE’s decentralized mega-organization. This is an example of leadership that employs motivation and interpersonal influence.
How does this type of leadership work? It is not a set of mechanical management processes. It is not a sleeve out of a management booklet. It is human. It requires good chemistry, a huge amount of listening and observing.
I will break this topic into few parts to allow for shorter and easier reading. We will cover how this type leadership works and can be implemented.
Mohd Prasad offers Business and Leadership Coaching, Training and Consultation for small, medium and large enterprises. Certified as one of the Best Coaches by Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research, Malaysia, Mohd Prasad brings to the table over 6 years over 50 companies with many obtaining 4 star rating by SME Corp of Malaysia.
He provides business coaching and development in the areas of Strategic Management, Finance Management, Leadership, Sales and Marketing and Talent Development. He is also the Program Manager for the Bumiputera Vendor Development Program Batch 1 and Batch 2 comprising of 40 bumiputera companies. Mohd Prasad combines the unique experience of an engineer and his experience as a business owner and entrepreneur to formulate Business Engineering Formulas to troubleshoot problem areas to focus in the business.
Accomplished and integrity-driven professional offering over 16 years of professional success on national and international levels with strong concentration and enormous success in project management, business development, and human capital development.
Recognized as a savvy, charismatic leader with strengths in reengineering business processes, defining continuous improvement, conducting lively brainstorming sessions, achieving consensus, recognizing and accelerating peer’s strengths, delegating purposefully and building powerful teams that exhibit unwavering determination and stoic resolve. Also, acknowledged as a business focused professional with diverse business knowledge, experienced in various industries and propensity to fuel positive change.
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I was sitting down drinking tea at the local mamak restaurant at dusk. For some odd reason, I decided to put down my smartphone and look up.
I saw two elderly gentlemen, a malay and a chinese, roughly about 70 years old, talking. Smiling. Laughing. No selfies, not one glance anywhere else.
Next to me, were two uncles, approximately 150 years old combined, talking. Smiling and laughing. There were no phones anywhere in sight. Eye contact throughout the conversation. They were fixated with each other and the topic of discussion.
As if by automation, I reached for my smartphone to update my observation. At that point, epiphany. It took me only 5 minutes before I dashed to the solace of my smartphone.
Are we addicted to social media? Are we a narcissistic society? Do we feel compelled to update everything in one social media or the other?
Questions I am pondering. Maybe its time to revisit, if I am addicted to my smartphone. Less update, less narcissism?
We have established that a leader must communicate to persuade and influence followers. How can a leader fail in communication? Its just an act of conveying a message, it can’t be that hard.
Oh, yes it can.
Today, the proliferation of electronic media has increased communication by thousands of folds. Emails are now considered a thing of the past, compared to whatsapp, telegram and its like. These communication modes can send voice messages, files, text and we can expect a reply soon – since everything is readily accessible through our smartphones. With all these technologies available at the leaders fingertip, how shall he/she wield this power?
A leader understands the richness of an information channel. He/she uses this knowledge to effectively influence followers. The richness of an information channel is characterized by its ability to handle multiple cues simultaneously, ability to facilitate rapid two way feedback, and the ability to establish a personal focus.
This would mean that the Face to Face communication will he richest medium, as it permits direct experience, multiple information cues, immediate feedback and personal focus. Telephone conversation are next in the richness hierarchy as eye contact, gaze, posture and body language is missing.
Next in the list is internet messaging tools such as whatsapp and telegram. It allows immediate feedback, but lacks in other direct cues.
These proliferation of electronic media has contributed to poorer communication. Employees who work in offices down the hall from one another would rather send an email rather than communicating face to face.
An effective leader knows when to use the particular channels to influence followers. He/She must decide what is the richness of information that he/she requires to convey the message and influence the followers.
I’ve talked about a communication and leadership in a few of my LinkedIn posts earlier this year. The leader, whether you like it or not, is a communication champion. He champions and to a certain extent masters communication. The reason is very simple – to lead, you must influence and to influence, you must persuade through communicating with your followers.
Let’s face the harsh realities of today. We are facing generation gaps to the likes we have never seen before. The days of command and control leadership is gone. Does not work anymore. Today’s generation requires the answer to the question “why?” “Why do it this way?” “Why do I have to do this?” Ask any any leadership guru, and they will agree.
In this age, leadership requires persuasion and effective persuasion is based on four sets of principles:
The leader must establish credibility. In the age of information, truth and misinformation is blurred and a leader cannot operate in this region. Therefore, the leader must build his/her credibility through his/her knowledge, expertise, by establishing good relationships and keeping other’s best interest at heart. Credibility leads to follower confidence.
The leader builds vision, mission and a direction based on common grounds, not based on divisive issues or differences. The need to understand the commonality of all the stakeholders and how it will benefit them and the leader. Common ground is good measure of an effective leader. However, if the leader is unable to find common grounds, it is a good signal that the goals may need to be revisited.
The leader’s position must be compelling for others. Leaders do not merely rely on facts and figures. Compelling followers relies on an emotional level of engagement by using metaphors, symbols and stories. The great words of Martin Luther King, “I have a dream!” resonate till today and continue to compel people to strive towards their dreams.
Leaders connect emotionally. If we observe many of the United States Presidential Speeches, we can see strong emotionally engaging words recurring throughout the speech. Good leaders sense others’ emotions and adjust their approach to match the audience’s ability to receive the message. Emotional understanding allows the leader to influence others in positive ways.
Credibility – Common Ground – Compelling – Connect Emotionally. This is my 4C of persuasion.