A desperate woman once came to Gandhi with her young child and asked for his guidance. Her son developed a bad habit for overeating sugary foods and the mother was very concerned. "I have traveled 2 days because my son just won't stop eating sugar. Please help and tell him how bad sugar is for his health."Gandhi thought for a while and then said: "Come back in 2 weeks and I will help you". The women did as Gandhi said and returned 2 weeks later. This time Gandhi looked at the little boy and said: "little man, you need to stop eating sugar, it's very bad for your health". The young boy was impressed by this great leader and immediately agreed. "Why didn't you tell him this 2 weeks ago?" the mother asked..."first, I had to stop eating sugar" Gandhi replied.
What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
One of the most vital differences is the way leaders embody their words. A real leader does not command but actually, lives what he or she preaches. This is called leading by example. If you expect others to complete a task or behave a certain way, make sure you do the same. Being on time, keeping your word and doing the right things even when it hurts, are only a few of those vital elements.
Too often I see managers, owners or CEO’s command their employees around.
It seems like the words "thank you" and "please" have gone out of fashion.
Rather than telling someone what to do, rephrase it as a question:
Go to this address and pick up the package and be back here by 3 pm.
Can you please go to this address and pick up the package? Please be sure to return no later than 3 pm. Thank you.
Notice the difference? How does the first example versus the second make you feel?
The first one leaves no room for empowerment since it’s a command. The second example is much more empowering because it gives the employee a feeling of choice. Even if the employee has to do the task because it is part of the job, it makes a big difference. This is the fundament of a relationship based on respect and appreciation. Any person treated this way is much more likely to perform better! By the way, I highly recommend using the same principle in your personal relationships! Words of appreciation are honey to the soul.
Another great attitude leaders bring forward is acknowledgment. How often do you praise your employees, colleagues, friends, family members or partners? Think about it. Most of the time we take each other for granted and I sometimes still find myself doing this. Honest appreciation can make a tremendous difference. We all have this little voice in our head that keeps bugging us with thoughts like "I should be better" or "that wasn't good enough". A few words of appreciation on a regular basis can change that. Give it a try and write down 3 things you appreciate about a person in your life. Pick someone who could really use it and watch what happens. I did this with my family and suddenly tapped into a completely new way of being. My relationships literally transformed!
Remember, you never know how big your impact can be in that moment…sometimes you might even save a life!
Last but not least, leaders understand how to challenge their people. When I say challenge, I don’t mean this in a dreadful army-style way like “get on the floor and gimme a 100 you little s**t”. A leader knows the current limitations and sets the challenges in a fun and entertaining way that makes you want to expand yourself. Growth is a crucial part in business and it goes hand in hand with personal development. If you as a leader and/or your employees expand, your business is very likely to follow. Why? Because businesses are driven by people and their capabilities to reach new levels.
One of the best ways of doing this is to appeal to the motive. The WHY is always stronger than the HOW. When tough times come (trust me they will) your WHY determines how much further you are willing to go. Understanding a person’s WHY allows you to motivate him/her at a much deeper level.
John C. Maxwell said it best:
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.
Try it yourself, embody what you preach and you will see the world around you can quickly change for the better.
Much love AND appreciation,