Table of contents:

How to inspire employees to achieve more together
How to inspire employees to achieve more together

Assistants are a profitable investment.

How to inspire employees to achieve more together
How to inspire employees to achieve more together

The leader should not do everything with his own hands, because this way his team will not learn anything, and he himself will continue to poke around in insignificant details. Coach Dan Sullivan and psychologist Benjamin Hardy are convinced that it is more correct to let go of control and learn to delegate tasks. They called this method "Who, Not How": finding a suitable contractor is much more effective than trying to solve any issue on your own.

This is why transformative leaders must develop and support people in the first place. The latter will become more independent, and the leader will be able to engage in strategy, not micromanagement. Sullivan and Hardy are the authors of Who, Not How. Choose collaboration over competition. With permission from Field Publishing Studio, Lifehacker publishes Chapter 5.

In 2008, Nicole Whipp started working as a lawyer in Michigan. This state has been hit particularly hard by the crisis in the auto industry. Finding a job at an existing law firm was nearly impossible, so Nicole decided to start her own company.

For the next year and a half, she worked 80-100 hours a week. Nicole not only represented clients in court, but also typed legal documents, looked for the necessary information, answered letters and spent hours on the phone with clients. According to her, she spun like a squirrel in a wheel.

Nicole's life is at a turning point. She was so exhausted that she was thinking about abandoning her career as a lawyer. It was impossible to do everything myself for a long time, performing the work of a team of three or four people. She did not rest at all, an endless list of what remained to be done was spinning in her head. She didn't have time to recover. She lacked the strength to communicate with loved ones. In addition, she was going to have children, which certainly did not fit into the schedule.

Something needed to be changed.

To become a mother, she needed the freedom of time. She also wanted the freedom of money to provide the life she dreamed of for her family. Despite all the efforts spent, her health, talent and insane hours worked, her annual income never reached six figures.

Nicole decided not to leave the profession, but to completely restructure the work. She hired the first employee … which turned out to be a disaster, because Nicole herself did not understand what she wanted and where she needed help. She acted in a hurry and responded to emerging issues, rather than thinking strategically. But her first hiring experience taught her some important lessons. Over time, she learned to apply the principle of "who, not how."

Nicole realized that other people are capable of doing most of her tasks, and often they do it much better. She also found that rest and time off from work greatly affects her happiness and confidence, which in turn affects her job performance and income.

Every time you invest in your own ideas, your determination to implement them grows. By investing in the first employee and learning painful lessons, Nicole's resolve grew stronger. When you invest in something, you become more committed to it.

Nicole's growing determination pushed her to a clearer understanding of what she wants from life: where she wants to live (as a result, she moved to Hawaii with her family), how much and on what projects to work, how much to earn.

A clear understanding of the tasks allowed us to assemble a powerful team of dedicated assistants. She now has several subordinates who have been trained to help them get the results they want. Nicole does not micromanage but is ready to support her team when needed. She is dedicated to the staff and will do her best to help.

Nicole strives to support the people who work for her because she believes in them. For example, one day she took an assistant with her to a business conference. During one of the exercises, each of those present had to stand up and talk about themselves for two minutes. Nicole's assistant was terrified and wanted to refuse the assignment, but Nicole convinced her to try.

The assistant reluctantly did the exercise, during the conference her self-confidence grew and she strengthened her goals. This experience triggered her personal transformation. The boss's support helped to overcome embarrassment and insecurity.

It is important for Nicole to strive for certain results and to engage the team. To do this, you should not allow subordinates to doubt themselves. They need to face difficulties and learn to overcome them. Otherwise, they will never dare and will not be committed to your cause - and their goals.

Nicole can be safely called a transformative leader.

The theory of transformative leadership developed by psychologists is now considered the leading theory of leadership around the world. Transformative leaders embody four traits.

  1. Individual approach: you, as a leader, listen to the needs of each team member, act as a coach or mentor, and discuss problems. You provide empathy and support, speak bluntly, and set ambitious goals for the team, offering opportunities for professional growth. You respect everyone and acknowledge their personal contribution to the team.
  2. Intelligent challenge: As a leader, you are critical of other people's opinions, you can take risks and take team members' ideas seriously. You stimulate and encourage creativity, encourage employees to think independently. Help employees build self-confidence so they can make their own decisions and take risks. You take learning seriously, value the benefits it provides, and see unforeseen situations as an opportunity to learn something. Listen to the questions of team members, in case of disputes, take responsibility for making the final decision on how best to solve the problem. You are not micromanaging.
  3. Inspirational Motivation: you, as a leader, provide ideas that excite and inspire your team. You encourage employees to strive for more ambitious results, express optimism about achieving future goals, and help to see meaning in today's tasks. Each team member must capture a strong sense of meaning that fuels their motivation to take action. Purpose and meaning provide energy that propels the team forward. For a leader and strategist, the ability to articulate a mission forcefully and convincingly is an incredibly important skill. You must convey the meaning to each employee so clearly, accurately and attractively that they want to put more effort into fulfilling the tasks assigned to them. Then they will look to the future with optimism and believe in their ability to cope with the tasks entrusted to them. They will contaminate your confidence and take it over.
  4. Idealized Influence: you, as a leader, become an example for your employees in everything related to highly moral behavior. You give them a reason to be proud and create a culture within the team, earning their respect and trust. The reason people follow you is because of your personality. Your values are authoritative. People want to be around, learn from you, support your goals, and go through their own transformation by being in touch with your ideas.

To achieve the desired results, Nicole had to fully believe in her goals. Moreover, she needed people who were equally devoted to her ideas. To do this, it was necessary to first believe and start investing in them: setting ambitious goals and helping them gain transformative experiences. She conveyed her own confidence without relieving them of responsibility for their parts of the job.

Nicole has built a strong and dedicated team capable of self-management. Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when she lived in Hawaii and the team remained in Michigan, Nicole was only required to clearly explain what needs to be achieved.

The team immediately restructured the principles of working with clients, most of whom were at risk of being over 70 years old. Everything went well, the staff coped, and Nicole did not need to get deeply into the processes. Despite the outbreak of the crisis, Nicole's team had enough confidence and flexibility to overcome difficulties, because in the past they had to solve problems on their own and they knew that their leader believed in them even in such a difficult situation.

There are two types of suffering: long-term and short-term. The choice is yours.

Demonstrate Confidence and Determination to Helpers

Dan Sullivan Co-author of the book, creator of the Who, Not How.

Entrepreneurs have moved beyond the "risk line" and moved from an "economy of time and effort" to an "economy of results." They have no guaranteed income, no one pays them a salary every two weeks.

They live off the ability to create opportunities by offering something of value to customers. Sometimes they - and you - invest a lot of time and effort without getting results. And sometimes, to get significant results, they, on the contrary, do not have to spend a lot of energy and time.

An entrepreneur always needs to think first of all about the results, otherwise he will not be able to earn. If you work for an entrepreneur, this also applies to you. While you most likely have a salary, it is important to understand that the company you work for operates in a results economy. She works on this principle, even if it does not directly affect you.

I am not saying this to scare you, but to show you how to achieve success in such conditions - to learn how to get maximum results with the minimum expenditure of time and effort.

If you strive for more freedom, you need to focus on results. Let others succeed. Give them the freedom to complete their assigned tasks and seek their own unique solutions. The effectiveness of delegation is confirmed by research data.

According to the theory of self-determination, every person has three basic psychological needs associated with work.

  1. Confidence in your own competence.
  2. The autonomy of the choice of methods for performing tasks.
  3. Positive and meaningful relationships.

A social environment that supports the satisfaction of these needs ensures a high level of intrinsic motivation, mental and physical well-being, as well as the effectiveness of all people inside it. However, how exactly needs are met is of great importance.

Interestingly, according to research, teams with a high level of autonomy, but a low level of understanding of goals and a small amount of feedback perform worse than teams with a low level of autonomy. However, when people had a high level of autonomy, they understood the purpose well and received regular assessments of the results, their effectiveness increased dramatically.

Simply put, autonomy without clarity leads to disaster. People wander chaotically, unable to choose the right direction and stick to it.

The main problem of leadership - the lack of a clear understanding of the goals and the inability to convey it to the performers - leads to the fact that they do not see the point in work and do not understand their own role. They experience stress and lose confidence in their abilities. This is not due to the fact that they do not have enough resources or abilities, but because the leader does not show himself.

Instead of giving the team a clear understanding of the goal, trust and autonomy, setting everyone up to get the result and being flexible about the methods chosen by the performers to achieve it, many obsessively control the process in the smallest detail.

The role of the leader is to confidently answer the “what” question - a desired outcome or goal - and then provide clarity, feedback, and direction as needed. The leader doesn't have to explain how to get the job done. The contractor decides for himself how he will achieve the results. The leader needs a clear understanding of what this result should look like.

It can help here This is a one-page document that helps managers define goals, outcomes, and criteria for project success using guiding questions. "Influence filter". It keeps everyone on track when faced with distractions. When building a house, of course, you can add a lot to the original design in order to improve something. But if it distracts from specific requirements that cannot be dispensed with, the distraction of improvements can ruin the original idea.

Clear criteria for success is an understanding of what needs to happen in order for the project to be considered complete. With a vision of the outcome, your assistants will be able to stay on course. At the same time, they still have the opportunity to independently decide what exactly needs to be done.

Without clear boundaries, performers will lose motivation. Boundaries and clarity build confidence. To maintain it, you need clarity and simplicity. Boundaries help pave the way for results. According to the theory of expectation, one of the key theories in psychology, motivation requires clear, concrete results and a clear path to them. The boundaries developed using the criteria for success are necessary to strengthen the motivation of the performer: they give a clear vision of what needs to be achieved, leaving complete autonomy in the choice of methods and methods.

Reward those who create. Discourage those who complain.

Chapter Summary

  • If you are serious about achieving a result, you need to look for the answer to the question "who", not "how."
  • Firm determination is based on the performer's understanding of what he is striving for, and complete autonomy in choosing the ways to achieve the result.
  • Transformative leaders invest in the team, set ambitious goals for them, and help them realize the goal. Ultimately, the goal becomes as important to the performer as it is to the leader.
  • Without a clear understanding of the goal, self-reliance is ineffective.
  • Autonomy leads to high efficiency only if the goal is clearly understood and the results are regularly evaluated.
  • Leaders need to focus on results, not ways to achieve them.
  • Leadership is not about controlling the process, but about ensuring freedom, autonomy, clarity and high standards of work.
Buy the book “Who, not how. Choose collaboration over competition "
Buy the book “Who, not how. Choose collaboration over competition "

“Who, not how” is suitable not only for entrepreneurs, but also for those who are tired of solving any problems on their own. Perhaps you will make your life much easier if you stop doing everything yourself and start asking for help.