There was a time in the nineteen forties when Vyacheslav Molotov was Soviet foreign minister. He was a shrewd man and a hard bargainer but worked for Joseph Stalin, who was The Boss. He was once overheard talking to Stalin by trans-Atlantic telephone during the course of some very intricate negotiations with the West.
He said, “Yes, Comrade Stalin,” in quiet tones, then again, “Yes, Comrade Stalin, and then, after a considerable wait, “Certainly, Comrade Stalin. Suddenly he was galvanised into emotion. “No, Comrade Stalin,” he barked, “No. That’s, no. Definitely, no. A thousand times, no!”
After a while, he quieted and it was “Yes, Comrade Stalin,” again.
The reporter who overheard this was probably never so excited in his life. Clearly, Molotov was daring to oppose the dictator on at least one point, and it would surely be important to the West to know what that point might be.
The reporter approached Molotov and said as calmly as possible, Secretary Molotov, I could not help but hear you say at one point, “No, Comrade Stalin.”
Molotov turned his cold eyes on the reporter and said, “What of it?”
“May I ask,” said the reporter, cautiously, “What the subject under discussion was at that time?” “You may,” said Molotov. “Comrade Stalin asked me if there was anything which he had said with which I disagreed.”
While this story, which may or may not be an extension of the truth, gets a laugh, it does touch on an important Leadership question which is as valid today as it was in Stalin’s reign: as Leaders, should the people who we are responsible to lead, follow us because we’re their boss and they need to do what we say, or find employment elsewhere, or, should there be something else greater at play?
I’m fairly confident that the Leadership techniques of murder, torture, and imprisonment Stalin favoured to create his Russian Empire aren’t replicated by yourself in your Leadership role, HOWEVER, do you have the underlying belief that at the end of the day, your team should follow you because you are the leader, period? I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us secretly harbour this thought and wish with all our might that it proved to be an effective Leadership strategy. Though, we know from experience, this type of leadership thinking only rewards us with employees who put up with us long enough to find another place of employment, giving nothing to us except their name on the payroll and a lack lustre performance.
So, what is a Leader to do to foster the maximum performance from those they are responsible to lead? There is an incredible number of Leadership theories and strategies out there to accomplish this but I have just one simple strategy for you today to help you do this: Serve. Serve. Your. Team. Not the other way around. Serving is the underlying principle of all Leadership strategies that develop outstanding team performances because you earn trust as a result of the heart that you have, truly caring for others wanting to make a difference in their life to reach their potential.
What do the people you surround yourself with truly think about your heart as the Leader?
There is a great difference between a Leader who leads with their title and an authentic Leader who leads with his heart. Only when you have trust will people truly follow you with their heart.
My mentor, Jim, taught me 28 years ago:
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Think about the good relationships in your life or great ones you admire – what’s the special ingredient they have? Most likely heart! You care! You put your heart into them and build considerable trust and a long lasting, fulfilling relationship as a result.
It’s important to also understand there are some people who it doesn’t matter what you do to be the best Leader you can be, leading with the right heart – you will never earn their complete trust or loyalty because their heart has been negatively changed due to the struggles of life.
As a Leader all you can do is to continue to ask yourself, “Am I leading with the right heart and am I serving the people I lead to the best of my ability?”
The No.1 asset of any business will always be the people, not the product. You have no business or team without people. You need to serve them.
It is my belief that people truly want to follow you when they see your level of commitment to wanting to grow them and bring about a change in their behaviours, which will not only help them in their business life but their personal life.
I am a true believer that when you build stronger Leaders they live better lives. And when they live better lives, they naturally perform better for you as a result.
Leadership is a big responsibility – you are leading people who are putting their trust in you as the Leader.
What are you doing to develop people around you to reach their potential?
Who needs more one on one time with you as the Leader?
Do the people you lead trust you?
Who doesn’t trust you, and why don’t they trust you?
There will always be different Leadership styles and you will not always connect with people within the group you lead but if you know you are leading authentically with the right heart and right spirit, giving trust to build trust, that is all that you can do. This takes a very secure heart from the Leader and it is the first step to Servant Leadership.
Is your number one priority to develop the people you lead?
Are you leading with the right heart and spirit?
Are you giving trust first to build trust?
Who do you need to give more trust to?
Are you serving instead of being served as the Leader?
Some other articles I’ve written that may give you more insight into this topic:
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy of my book, “The Dream Is Everything” (RRP $24.95), click here.