How to Lead Without Force

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Friday, June 5, 2020

How to Lead Without Force

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Friday, June 5, 2020

Any boss can tell employees what to do. But they can’t make employees do it well, with a good attitude, or with enthusiasm. For that, you need a leader.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

But how do you avoid pushing and prodding a group from behind, and instead get out in front and encourage them to follow?

Don’t use force. Instead, use motivation.

Leaders motivate others to do their best by providing a strong example, being visible, and acknowledging and appreciating team members who are doing it right. A strong leader shares a clear purpose and vision, which inspires others to work towards achieving it.

Tips for being a strong leader

  • Admit you don’t know it all and can’t do it alone. Show appreciation for what others do and know by asking their views and opinions. You don’t have to take every suggestion. Just listen and understand.
  • Build credibility by leaving yourself out of the picture. Create a common vision and purpose. Communicate it clearly and often, so that everyone on your team is painting a shared picture, moving together toward a shared destination. It’s not about the people–it’s about the purpose.
  • Show integrity by allowing your core values to guide everything you do. Be a person that can be trusted and who inspires honesty in others. Admit when you don’t know something and be accountable when you make a mistake.
  • Show up and be seen. Employees who don’t see you regularly will assume you don’t know what’s going on, and worse, that you don’t care.
  • Be consistent. State your expectations clearly and be sure they align with your purpose and vision.
  • Create a positive team culture. This involves everyone. Empower others to step up, and encourage them to give their all. Be there to build up team members when they succeed, and to provide a supportive net when they fall.

It’s not a job title

Remember that “leader” is not a job title. You should strive to be a leader, not just a boss. But ultimately, you want to grow and inspire others to be leaders, too.

Employees who have no authority within your company or on your team can be some of your most valuable leaders. If you set a strong example, give support, and allow them to grow, they can bring others with them as they work toward your goal.

You can’t demand success, but you can inspire it.