When you are blessed with the opportunity to work with talented influential women you learn a lot every day. As a workshop leader for Women of Influence I am ecstatic when my participants are thrilled with the experience they receive, that’s my goal but the bonus I receive is the learning and inspiration I regularly get from them.
Our focus shifts when we look for the positive contribution of others and we begin to see what was there all along. Acknowledging the contributions of my workshop participants has enabled me to amplify them and incorporate the best of them into future workshops.
Here are two leadership essentials I have become much more aware of since working with Women of Influence.
Pay attention to what you see. What we pay attention to, we amplify.
Our focus shifts when we look for the positive contribution of others and we begin to see what was there all along.
To get the most out of a team sometimes we need to put on rose coloured glasses and look at all the qualities and skills of those around us. We begin to see what was there all along, while our attention was elsewhere.
Have you ever had the experience of something (a word, a concept, a new food, an exercise or brand ) brought to your attention, and immediately you notice it everywhere? Did you wonder whether it was synchronicity?
Perhaps there is something wonderful and even unique about your company or organization, your products and systems, or your team you were unaware of, that when seen in a positive light can bring greater satisfaction to your customers and more profit to your company. In the process you may even have your team grow in the pride of seeing their contribution to the community they serve.
Leadership is not just about what you do but how your being motivates and inspires your team. If your being is positive by nature and you see your team as amazing, with the ability to do almost anything with a little; help or training, or by leveraging the strengths of each other more, or by being just a little less critical of each other you will not just motivate them but begin to better use them for their unique and powerful strengths.
There are Two Essential Ways of Being for leaders that motivate their followers, help bring out their best and help them see beyond what they think is possible:
1. Pay attention to your seeing. What you focus on, you amplify.
2. Be a person of high expectation. People live up (or down) to your expectations of them. Where is your focus of attention? Is it on problems, what’s wrong, what’s not working … do you easily find fault with others? If we focus on problems, what’s not working or someone’s annoying character traits–that is what we see and we often see it to the exclusion of other things. If we focus on problems in the false belief we are problem solving we can suck the energy and creativity out of the room and overwhelm ourselves. On the other hand if we focus on what we do well and look for ways to improve it we might just find the breakthrough that is unique to us and essential to our clients.
People live up (or down) to your expectations of them.
Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson two psychology researchers set out to prove that a person’s IQ can actually be improved just by the expectations people have of them. In a study conducted over a one year period those identified as high potential grew their IQ at a 50% greater rate than the control group. We don’t just get more work out of people by expecting more we also get better work. The phenomena became known as the Pygmalion Effect.
Leaders that view their team as high potential will give their team tougher challenges, expect deeper thinking, and listen more intently to their suggestions. Recent research with 1500 companies has revealed that teams better challenged where their immediate supervisor is seen as listening to and appreciating their input perform up to four times more effectively and contribute up to 20% more to the bottom line.
Dr. Lois P. Frankel a recognized expert in the field of leadership development for women suggests who has helped diverse clients such as Walt Disney, The World Bank, The Indonesia Women’s Leadership Summit, Miller Brewing Lockheed Martin, and McKinsey & Company, has a rule she calls the 7:1 rule give people seven pieces of positive feedback for every developmental criticism.
Most of us avoid giving developmental criticism rather than setting high expectations and expecting them to be met and when we finally do address the problem it is not in a positive light of high expectation and ends up coming out as sharp, blunt or abrupt. We are not leaders to judge others but rather to help them perform in an extraordinary manner.
Consider trying this Experiment
Look for the inherent gifts, the positive in someone who pushes your buttons, someone you don’t like, someone who you believe is a low performer. Then give authentic, positive feedback to that person. Notice how you feel and how that person responds. See what happens over time.
I hope you will join us on Feb7 when I will be leading a small group of exceptional women in a workshop on Mastering Me – Creating Your Best Self. I am looking forward to seeing everyone grow not just from the material and exercises I present but from the contributions of from the whole group and the learning I received from previous groups. For more information click here.