Inspired by a story from The Fifth Discipline by Peter M. Senge! Let us assume the speed limit sign board on a road in your country reads sixty miles per hour. There are three drivers – one who grudgingly complies with this speed, another who complies with it and the third one, who abides by this rule even when there is no sign board! According to you, which one of these is committed to the government’s vision of road safety for its people?
So, how does a leader foster deep commitment in his employees? Given below are four time-tested ways in which Transformational Leaders have been able to nurture long term commitment to their vision:
Building trust through words and action regularly
This is one of those quintessential pillars of collaboration. It is easy to build but is often taken for granted later. Successful leaders find trust building, a never ending process. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway in his letters to shareholders, every year has a consistent pattern of lavishing praises on his employees for every success story and owning up every wrong decision made by the company.
Talking about the forest and the trees
Employees often connect more to visions that clearly show the incremental benefits that their realization would bring in an employee’s life. One easy way to do this is to break the vision into smaller versions and connect them with the personal aspirations of the team members. It is this connection that fuels the intrinsic motivation in employees to do extra-ordinary things and go beyond their usual competencies.
Creating a culture of familiarity
Research suggests that we often collaborate more comfortably and for longer term with people like us. This similarity could be a country, language, religious belief, ideals or even a dress code!
In Japan, a lot of organizations have a uniform for work. Everyone wears the same uniform irrespective of hierarchy to build familiarity. A top tier automobile company in India has the same cafeteria for everyone to have lunch irrespective of the level. It is where every staff (including the C-suite executives) has lunch. Such initiatives create similarities and break barriers between “Us” and “Them”. Employees start relating to their leaders as one of them. It is this relation that builds trust in the leader, engagement with his (her) vision and automatically generates authentic commitment!
Replacing job titles with ownership
Job titles create hierarchy and feed ego. Ownership builds accountability and responsibility. As Peter Bevelin writes in Seeking Wisdom, “…we take responsibility of our behavior in cases when we are internally motivated by satisfaction or interest, when we feel in control….” John Lewis calls its employees as partners. They firmly believe in building ownership which encourages collaboration to the highest level!
“Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success” – Henry Ford.
Once a compelling vision is created and commitment generated, the next challenge that a Transformational Leader faces is to sustain the momentum of change and embed it into the organizational culture. Next in this series, we will explore how some of the most successful leaders have been able to ace this challenge comfortably!
This blog is part of the Transformational Leadership series
Transformational Leadership aims to achieve significant changes across teams and organizations by inspiring and motivating participants to work towards a common goal (inspired by their aspirations) that not only brings long term prosperity to the organization but also helps the employees expand their own potential and fulfill their intrinsic dreams.
We present to you a series of data backed posts on some of the most pressing issues of Transformational Leadership with real life business examples of how they have been overcome by some of the world’s most famous Transformational Leaders.