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Summary: Results don't happen unless people take action. But there are right and wrong ways to take action. Here are eight ways of right action that every leader must challenge the people they lead to take.
In Leadership, The Eight Ways Of Right Action. (Part 2)
by Brent Filson
In Part 1, I said that leaders who can't have people take right action are ineffective, and I listed four of the eight ways of right action. In Part 2, I'll describe the remaining four ways.
Action must be:
(5) LINKED TO NEED. The people's needs are their reality. If you are an order leader, you clearly do not have to know their needs. You simply exhibit a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. But if you want to motivate them to take action, you need to understand that reality. Because their motivation is not your choice, it's their choice. Your role is to communicate, their role is to motivate, to motivate themselves. It's their choice. It's not yours. So their needs are not only their reality, in the leadership equation, their needs are the only reality. They don't care about your needs. They don't care about your reality. They only care about their reality. Tie the action you want them to take to THEIR NEEDS, not yours. Which means of course that you have to clearly identify their needs.
(6) URGENT: Patience is a virtue, but it can also be a tender trap. Urgency is a results-multiplier. A Roman centurion said the secret to instilling urgency in the troops was summed up in two words, "hit them." His credo lives today in the order leader -- not necessarily in a physical sense but more importantly in a psychological sense. But trying to gain urgency through "hit them" is far less effective than having urgency come from the people's internal motivation. Here's a process to have people take urgent action: IDENTIFY THEIR NEEDS, SEE THE PROBLEMS IN THEIR NEEDS, AND HAVE THEIR TAKING ACTION PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO THOSE PROBLEMS.
For instance, in a police academy, an instructor came into the room with a note that said CLEAR OUT THIS ROOM IMMEDIATELY. The first cadet ordered his colleagues out. A few cadets left but most stayed. The instructor handed the note to a second cadet who pleaded for his classmates to leave. Again, a few left but most stayed. Finally, the instructor gave the note to a third cadet. This cadet understood how to identify needs and have people take action to solve those needs. He said two words, which emptied the room. "Lunch break!"
People are always willing to take ardent action to solve the problems of their needs. The question is can you identify those needs. Once you do, you hare half way home to getting them to take such action.
(7) DEADLINE: All action you have people take must have a deadline. Otherwise, it might become a low priority for them, and they will not be especially urged to take it. Be constantly monitoring yourself when motivating people to take action by asking, "Have I a put a deadline to this action?" If you haven't, do it.
(8) FED BACK: True motivation isn't what the people do in your sight. True motivation is what they do after they have left your sight. Many leaders get the "head fake" from the people they're leading -- their nodding their heads and saying, "Yes," face-to-face with the leader; but inside saying, "No." When they leave your presence, they do what they want, not what you want. Make sure that the action you challenge them to take is fed back to you, so that you are aware -- and they are aware that you are aware -- of that action.
Leaders do nothing more important than get results, and results come from people taking action.
The trouble is, most leaders have people get a fraction of the potential results because these leaders misunderstand what action really is -- and in that misunderstanding misapply and misuse it.
When speaking to people, keep the eight ways of right action in mind so people take the right action to achieve the right results.
2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at http://www.actionleadership.com
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