The Three Commitments of Leadership are Essential to be Influential

This week we have a guest post from Jon Wortmann. I met Jon a couple of years ago after hearing him on a radio show. He mentioned he was on Twitter so I contacted him and we’ve communicated on a regular basis ever since.

Jon is a non-profit leader, a leadership coach at Muse Arts, LLC, and an author. His first book was Mastering Communications at Work and now he’s followed that up with The Three Commitments of Leadership. He was trained at Harvard University and has consulted with and offered workshops for educational, non-profit, start-up, and Fortune 100 organizations.  I encourage you to reach out to
Jon on Twitter because he’ll reach back. You can get in touch with him at @jonwortmann.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn
to Hear “Yes”.
The Three Commitments of Leadership are Essential to be Influential
The punch line of The Three Commitments of Leadership is simple:  teammates love to work with leaders who pay attention to clarity,
stability, and rhythm.
The same is true of leaders who know how to connect deeply with others.  The principles of influence are really about what makes us want to work and live with the people around us.  Influence can be used to get people to say “Yes,” and when people like us, when we are consistent, and
when we reciprocate the kind of authentic interactions that help us want to spend more time with someone, it creates teammates who follow us from company to company and always want to be on our team.
Here’s how the principles of influence can make you the kind of leader whose team people beg to work on.
The first of the three commitments is clarity.  We all know the case study:  the leader doesn’t tell us exactly what he/she wants, and then gets angry when we don’t do what is expected.  For instance, you’re volunteering with a team on a Habitat for Humanity build.  The site supervisor wants the roof on the house by the end of the day.  But the supervisor doesn’t tell you.  He shows you how to put on a roof, and you have a great time with your fellow volunteers getting half the roof up.  At the end of the day, as you high-five and celebrate, the supervisor is a grumpy bear.  You ask him, “Why?”  He says he wanted the roof on the house.  You all leave not liking him because you could have worked faster if you
knew that mattered, and next year you choose to volunteer with a different charity.  The problem is clarity.  Leaders who are clear, who understand what their people need to completely own what they’re doing, are also the leaders we like and want to keep working with.
The second commitment is stability.  Stability comes from providing the resources we need
and building a culture of trust.  There is no more powerful tool than consistency to produce stability.  As the old McKinsey & Co. axiom goes: leaders do what they say they’re going to do.  When they do, by repeatedly giving people what they need to be successful, teammates know that they can count on the culture of an organization to meet their own obligations and goals.  For instance, when Ernest Shackleton tried to be the first to the South Pole, he brought every possible supply his team would need:  from wine and supplies to make cakes in the Antarctic winter to over a ton and half of bacon.  Because he consistently gave them what they needed over the year of preparation before the attempt at the pole, they set a new record even though everything went wrong and they almost lost their lives.  He was able to push them so hard because from his consistent provision of resources, they knew they could trust him.
The third commitment is rhythm.  The old model of hierarchical leadership will not
produce the best results in most cultures today.  Our globally connected and competing world, unified by social networks and powerful communication technology, means leaders have to be as generous to our teammates as they are to us. We can’t tell people what to do and expect it to get done.  When our teammates take risks, offer ideas, and invest, we have to
reciprocate.  The CEOs who people want to work for behave the same way with their boards and executive teams as they do with every other employee.  When a janitor sends an email with an idea for improving a product, the CEO reaches out and validates that janitor with the same enthusiasm he would one of his VPs.  When leaders get into a rhythm of reciprocating
communication, ideas, and validation with every member of their team, the team will model the behaviors and the culture will show its health by the results it produces.
People love to work with leaders who commit to relationships and an organizational structure that has clarity, stability, and rhythm.  Leaders can fulfill their commitments by being the kind of people others like, by being consistent, and by reciprocating the behaviors of their best teammates with every team member.  The leaders who make the three commitments and fulfill them with the principles of influence are the kind of leaders teammates want to connect with for life.
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