Many of the great pioneers who came to our country and expanded our frontiers were seeking an environment where they could have a greater sense of control over their own decisions. They were fed up with the dominating leadership of dictators and royalty.
These rulers made unilateral decisions and dictated the goals to be pursued. When taxation without representation became sufficiently frustrating, our forefathers even risked their lives in the American Revolution.
Our predecessors didn’t like performing for apparently arbitrary authority figures then, and we don’t like to NOW!
When we relegate people to carry out someone else’s orders, we prevent them from having a full measure of opportunity to achieve. They typically choose fight, flight, or submission in response.
People won’t get truly inspired to achieve peak performance unless they are asked for their input on what goals and processes are most:
Market-based economies repeatedly have outperformed socialistic and communistic economies that are based on centralized decision making. Similarly, on Wall Street and Main Street, we see organizations led by empowering leaders that reach performance levels which far exceed those of their peers.
In previous blog postings, we have discussed the difference between Process AND Content is:
Process vs. Content
We enhance relationships vs. We drive for results
The focus is on people vs. The focus is on things
We lead people vs. We manage things
It is how we say and do vs. What we say and do
So what happens when people don’t pursue process along with content?
The Leadership Trap
Unfortunately, as leaders are promoted into higher levels in their organization, too many executives feel that they should become more dynamic and decisive. After all, they’re in charge!
And the more dynamic and decisive they become, the more likely they are to disregard good processes and expediently focus on content matters.
The fact is, the more process-conscious people are, the quicker they become disenchanted with leaders who rule with selfish expediency.
Fact: People don’t leave companies
Folks want to be respected and invited to use their minds as well as simply following orders. They can quickly become disenchanted with supervisors who express, “My way or the highway!” or “Do it because I said to!” or “Do it because I’m the boss!”
No wonder it’s been said that people don’t leave companies, they leave supervisors.
When we have problems communicating or interacting, we tend to blame the environment or someone else – but not ourselves. How easy it is to settle for an attitude such as: I wish the other departments in our company would be more communicative and cooperative with us. Or: I wish others would listen to me.
Instead, we should ask, “how well do I…”
- Listen to others?
- Communicate with coworkers and direct reports?
- Understand, cooperate and collaborate with others?
- Praise and appreciate those around me?
How can we cultivate peak performance in order to maximize our success? The answer is simple but eludes most leaders. We obtain optimum results through participative decision-making and leadership.
Always remember that the most important things in the world aren’t things. They’re people and relationships! The pioneers understood this. Hopefully, each of us will too.
Based on your calendar and daily agenda, what do you value more — people or things?