I am reading "The Art of Possibility” and in the section on leadership co-author Bill Zander, who is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, remarks on a momentous realization in his career in relation to leadership: “The conductor of an orchestra’s true power derives from the ability to make others powerful. So instead of asking “how good am I?” he replaced that question with “what makes a group lively and engaged?” Once he made that mental change in his efforts, his musicians noticed such a difference they asked him “what happened to you?” He had been so focused on the audience’s reaction that he lost site of the importance in ensuring the musicians he conducted felt motivated to play the music.
I catch myself focusing on staff sometimes as instruments to achieve more results at the community level or to try and win more funding, or even gain recognition from my organization. But this puts the focus away from the people I need to understand the most --- the ones who are helping achieve the vision.
In our complex context, where deadlines and resources are strained due to weather conditions, instability, poor infrastructure, and communication challenges with people from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, it is all the more important to understand and focus on what motivates those working for or around you.
One Aid for Aid Workers leader and listener asks this common question: “Acknowledging how demanding working for my organization is for both national and international staff, how do I keep staff motivated so they are looking at the big picture of why we are doing this type of development work?”
Today’s guest is very familiar with this question albeit across organizations. Dave Stachowiak is the host and founder of the leadership platform Coaching for Leaders, a top 10 careers podcast in itunes and recognized by Forbes, US News and World Report and The Wall Street Journal. Dave is the Senior Vice President of Dale Carnegie of Southern Los Angeles, and has worked since 2004 to design, manage and instruct many training programs for corporate customers including the Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon and the Boeing Company. He has a background in coaching and a doctoral degree from Pepperdine University in organizational leadership.
Dave is a personal friend and mentor of mine who has really inspired me on my journey as a leader. In this episode Dave provides a few practical tips you can follow in this interview but also reference several interviews from the Coaching for Leaders podcast that are noted in the show notes which I encourage you to listen to as well.
Here are a few takeaways from today’s interview:
- Definition of servant leadership as how do I serve my team in order to move things forward?
- Difference between manipulation and leadership – manipulation is getting someone to do something for the benefit of only one party, whereas leadership benefits both
- Strong leaders hold people accountable and have high expectations of others
- Motivational leaders understand how to motivate the individual based on a collective vision that everyone feels as if they contribute toward
- Everyone has their own motivation but strong leaders find a way to honor this as well as align people with each other.
- Knowing not everyone will align with the vision but as long as they are doing their role then concentrate more on those people who are highly aligned or engaged
- People are more productive in general when they receive attention from a leader
- Motivating across cultures depends on the context – see resources Coaching for Leaders episode
- In order to find out how people are motivated, ask them!
- Recruiting is very important opportunity you can find people aligned with your vision and values – see resources Coaching for Leaders episode and Aid for Aid Workers episode