Leadership influences others' choices, priorities, and behavior. Historically, the ability to leverage power and position has been the models of what some would consider great leaders. As our industry evolves due to technological advancements, changing consumer behavior, and demographic shifts, position and power fall short in inspiring good people. There are too many competitors recruiting for good talent, whether it be hourly or senior level leadership positions, which is making it harder for you to retain movers and shakers in your organization. As a result, it's imperative to foster an environment where your people are inspired, respected, and empowered, making them to want to stick around. Power and position may create compliance in your organization but it will also create challenges in nurturing a sense of buy-in amongst your people to your organization's mission and vision. This can demotivate employee loyalty and their drive to go above and beyond the call of duty.
If you asked your employees and those around you to identify your leadership style, how would they answer? Would you be defined as someone that is comfortable managing with authority? Perhaps you are viewed as using strong discipline to motivate performance, or adversely, would you be viewed as being informative, empowering, and passionate? And if you were being very honest with yourself, would you be surprised by your employees' perception of you?
Unfortunately, there are few that fall into the latter category. The reason we fall short of our full potential as leaders is because we are afraid of looking weak, and in turn, if we give up information and control, we are giving up power.
If leaders only lean on power and position, it can be detrimental to the business. This is not because of a lack of expertise or "hard-skills" but because, it fosters a culture of malice compliance versus one of high performance and empowerment. As such, developing leaders do not have access to role model behavior or the opportunity to gain experience, skills, and knowledge required to lead the business into tomorrow.
We all strive to be better leaders because we know it will drive better results. But because we are human, we naturally fall into unhealthy habits and forgo past training and best practices to help us grow as leaders. The good news is that it is not out of reach to access your natural ability to use personal influence to inspire and motivate. We can all relate to that one leader that had an impact on us at one point in our career, either good or bad, and use that as our bedrock to be more of the leader we wish to be.
Moving to becoming a truly inspirational leader requires us to show our passion and not be afraid of the negative. As Marcus Lemonis shared during the 2017 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference, leadership calls us to be vulnerable and humble so that we can be authentic leaders that employ emotional intelligence into our decision-making process. In doing so, you build trust and loyalty and set an example for what you want your existing team and future leaders to be in your franchisee business.
Marcus Lemonis also spoke about taking responsibility for our choices as business owners. He reminded us that with our position of influence, comes the responsibility to identify how we are going to make a difference. Meaning, effective leadership today focuses on influencing others in a way that motivates others to engage, to build loyalty amongst your employees and customers, and to develop commitment to the franchisee organization's vision, mission, and goals.
Moving towards being an inspirational leader allows you to impact others, as well as your community. his is where you develop your leadership legacy. Every person in a position of power will leave a leadership legacy - good or bad. Your people will reflect your behavior. Therefore, if you lead through respect, trust, and empowerment, your people will feel inspired and have confidence in their ability to deliver upon the organization's expectations. If you are authoritative or lead only with power and position, they will lead differently when presented the opportunity. Or worse, you could lose the opportunity to nurture their growth in your organization.
As we continue to experience change and work to grow as inspirational leaders, be aware that we will experience setbacks. We are human after all and part of growing as a leader is learning in those moments that set us back. However, the key is being able to identify ineffective leadership behaviors and committing yourself to creating different behavior patterns to correct them. This may mean working with an advisor or coach to help keep you accountable, or, it may require instituting a process to ensure that you are honestly evaluated. In turn, you should have access to the tools and resources to make the change you want. To reiterate Marcus Lemonis, you must take responsibility for your life, and where you want to go. You are the one in charge of your leadership legacy.
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