The Power of Engagement: How Do You Draw Others Into Your Vision?

Leadership Lesson: Aside from the work for the mission and encouraging people to go after targeted benchmark goals and achievements, one should know how they can work toward guiding others to want to work toward that same goal.

What are you in it for? What do you want out of what you’re working toward, whether for yourself as an individual, or for your organization as one of its team leaders and/or players?

Whatever you’re involved in, supporting, or passionate about — how do you bring people around to work toward an end result as much as you do? How do you move people to see the vision you have, and to believe in it?

We may want the best for our organization by trying to get the work behind our message done, but it’s not enough to want people to do things. People are driven by their desire, not your requests. As much as you know what motivates you, you should learn what motivates them.

Related: Questioning Your Motivation: The Who? What? Where? When? Why?

We have to determine how it is we convey what needs to be done to those who are on the front lines, while providing the right skills to and attitude for the job that contributes to that ultimate goal.

Going one step beyond expectation, to preparation and empowerment, is vital when it comes to leadership. Just talking expectations gets you nothing.

Some leaders still don’t understand that. As much as there are probably hundreds of books published and available about what to do when it comes to leadership, some bosses, managers, and leaders don’t even consider the basic steps of leading others. Yes, some lessons should be common sense. And, yes, they’re textbook!

Some leaders and bosses may see others as expendable, believing someone else is always ready to replace those who don’t see the importance of the work. But you’re never going to get the best out of anyone, whether the current person or the next, without engaging them into what is important.

Getting followers, staffers, employees, etc., to want to achieve your mission and goal is not a matter of outlining or demonstrating, or merely explaining or touting. Instead, it’s the vital matter of engaging, getting to the meat of what someone’s all about and how that’s going to contribute to the work you need done.

So it’s about laying out the best argument for the mission and information for its success. It is also about linking something that is important to each person to the mission and explaining their place in its messaging and delivery.

There needs to be something in the message or mission — and the process and execution — they can relate to and get behind. It’s a combination of envisioning the future, preparing in the present, and learning from and building off of the past. They need to feel the mission is important enough – that they know its history, its current story, and what the work is for going forward — and that you’re willing to consider the best way in which to achieve that mission.

Here are some steps to take to learn, understand, and guide what your followers see in your mission, to help you work toward getting them to want what you want.

See Others

It’s important to take the time to acknowledge others. Sometimes, most of us can get lost in the needs of the day, shifting from one priority to the other, losing sight of those who help us, whatever position or level they serve in. It’s key to take note of who we have in front of and around us. Stop and smell the roses? No. Stop and see your people. Recognize what and who you have.

Related: Your Leadership Wake: As A Leader, How Do You Acknowledge Others?

Understand Others

Beyond seeing someone, it’s important to work to understand what drives others, and what they provide in value. No one should merely be assigned to a task or responsibility for completion’s sake alone, letting that completion be the end of that person’s effectiveness. Too often, people are brought into the fold in order to fit a job description. It falls upon the leader to look beyond merely matching someone’s abilities to a list of official duties, to determine what else it is that the person can provide.

Appreciate Others

After finding what it is someone can provide, the leader should then determine how to best harness that person’s ability – and, hopefully, desire – to utilize his or her resources. A leader needs to analyze, and then strategically determine how to use, a person’s ability, skill, and desire. The leader needs to reconcile someone’s best attributes to the areas of the mission most in need. Who each person is as a whole needs to be realized and appreciated.

Engage Others

Once the leader has determined what someone can provide and where to utilize it, they then have to proceed to interact with the person to genuinely learn what they want to contribute and if it can be done. Conversations need to be had in which the leader gets to know the person they lead. This ensures that the leader is not only seeking the abilities, but also trying to determine what is going to work best for the person as well. Through that connection, the person feels more of a commitment to the work in front of them and the team around them.

Ensure Others

Finally, once that conversation has continued, and intentions have been brought to the table, the leader then needs to ensure he or she will do the best to infuse the environment with the abilities of their people. This cannot be an absolute guarantee but, instead, a commitment to at the very least try. (It’s amazing how much people will go to bat for a leader who at least tries and strives for improvement. What turns people off the most about their leaders is their lack of awareness and self-awareness.) This is the promise to work to reconcile the needs of both the mission, and of those lead, with the leader’s vision for what’s possible and what needs to happen.

Leaders are nothing without followers, and followers can’t be their best without the support of their leaders. But, unfortunately, so much leadership nowadays seems to be about getting what’s needed from those being lead – and that’s that. That it’s an extraction only of what the leader wants, without seeking what the provider needs.

These steps above are not prescriptive. They are guidelines. The process of getting people to want what you want won’t look the same from one group to the next. It falls on each leader to explore and determine what is going to work within their organization and environment.

And the list is not exhaustive. There are so many more approaches beyond these to take into consideration when it comes to those whose support and desire we want behind what we’re trying to create and achieve. So, again, it won’t work the same for everyone.

What the list does do, though, is open up a conversation of curiosity, understanding, and commonality.

The least a leader should convey to others is the attitude that they want to work on how the work gets done — through the process with, and needs of, each contributor — not just delivering a result.

We have to look to what people can provide. A leader needs to make sure they’re bringing together all the pieces, whatever shape, size, or color they may take.

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