“Real leadership recognizes that changing or transforming an organization requires a change in mind, a change in belief, and a change in behavior.”
-John Grinnell, author of Beyond Belief: Awaken Potential, Focus Leadership
All organizational transformations come from a change of mind and perspective, but that change must take place throughout the entire organization, not just at the top. Great leaders understand that they cannot achieve the goals they set on their own—reaching those goals requires the cooperation of many others.
To support your organization’s purpose and achieve a lasting transformation you must be skilled at influencing the behavior of others. That begins with following these three principles.
A Strong Sense of Self-Awareness
We can’t influence the behavior of others until we fully understand them, and in order to do that we must first be highly aware of ourselves.
Grinnell positions self-knowledge as the basis of real leadership. He says that “The key...to becoming a better leader is to truly understand the human mind (particularly one’s own) and the way it operates.”
You must understand what drives your own behavior, perceptions, and actions in order to control them. Reaching a state of self-awareness allows leaders to recognize why they act (or react) in particular ways, and manage their emotions—rather than allowing their emotions to manage them. Leaders must be able to predict their own behavior and better control themselves to be able to control outcomes through the efforts of others.
A Willingness to Leap First
Growth requires change, and sometimes that means taking a radically different approach. That leap of faith is difficult, and it can make everyone involved with the change a little bit uncomfortable at first. But it’s not practical to cling to behavior that we’re familiar with when it isn’t leading to an experience we really want.
Leaders must intentionally embrace untested behaviors and unproven beliefs. There will be feelings of apprehension and the plan may change direction along the way, but taking action and doing it with confidence is critical if you want to gain the trust of those around you—so don’t wait for perfection or complete clarity before jumping.
Going forward with confidence doesn’t mean pretending that we have all the answers. It’s important to be transparent and put egos to the side in order to break barriers of distrust so that your followers come to believe that you are a realist, are truthful, and have their best interest in mind.
Creating an Environment That Fosters Motivation
The most important quality of a successful leader is truly understanding their people. Knowing what motivates the people you need to influence is pivotal in getting them to change their behaviors to align with your organization’s purpose. By being aware of the needs, beliefs, and desires of your team, you can lead in a way that answers the inherent question of “what’s in it for me?”
Trying to force someone to change their behavior is rarely successful. Instead, leaders should ask themselves how they can create conditions that align with desired outcomes. If you can understand what drives a person—and then align your actions accordingly—you will benefit from self-motivated behavior and commitment.
Deep seated motivators drive an individual’s behavior, but aren’t necessarily visible from the surface. The Brooks Talent Index® assessment system measures the driving forces that motivate and engage a person in work and in life and can be used beyond the hiring process, for targeted coaching and for encouraging new behaviors.