Shaping an organization starts with a long look in the mirror. No matter how much I want everyone to embrace an idea or philosophy, it takes inspiration for people to move to action. This inspiration will only come from the one they see and respect as a leader. If you, the leader, actually walks the walk then the example will be validated that your actions back up your vision. If you walk the walk with passion, your vision will take flight with purpose. When a group rallies around a purpose and can see the inspiration to action from a passionate leader, you cannot fail.
Leadership is a gift, given by those who follow, General Mark Welsh
Reinforcement of your vision will be necessary as well. Just because you give an impassioned speech to the troops doesn’t mean a week later they will remember what you said. Even when your walking the walk, don’t expect those around you to maintain the same enthusiasm without a dose of motivation on a regular basis. One thing to avoid in this tactic is motivation without any sight of movement. If your ideas aren’t getting traction, the followers will lose faith that what your selling is nothing more than just that, an idea. When traction occurs, highlight the action with more motivation. Don’t let the movement stall without an adjustment to create more traction.
Give credit where credit is due, with those followers that actually make it happen. It doesn’t matter whose idea it was, it matters who put legs under it and birth the idea into action. Followers live for accomplishing goals inline with their purpose. Connect these two and you begin designing a culture. Followers want to accomplish more to take them down the road towards the destination of purpose.
There is a lot more to building a culture that embraces challenges that some fear as change. It all starts with who their leader is and what he/she looks like to the masses. An organization can sniff out insincerity a mile away. You cannot fake your passion and example of leadership. You can try it. Once.
We all make mistakes along the way. How you handle the mistakes will also define who you are in their eyes. Be humble, honest and open about your actions. If you stumble, make sure it’s with grace. Never compromise your ethics. Stand up in front of the group and own any failures or mistakes that come from honest effort. Mistakes and failures can actually reinforce your respect as a leader depending on how you handle them. Honesty maintains trust in that others see who you profess to be, the leader. We are not always right, but we try.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas Edison
Parting shot; Leadership is how to be, not how to do… Frances Hesselbein