Dwight D. Eisenhower is credited for saying “You do not lead by hitting people over the head-that’s assault, not leadership.” Many leaders do “hit” their employee’s over the head, maybe not physically, but symbolically, when they implement new ideas without any thought to the employees that make it happen. All leaders at one time or another have to force employees to do things they may not like. That is reality. However, good leaders take the employees into consideration and make them a part of the process. Good leaders know how to get the employees to “buy-in” to the idea before executing it. Let’s face it; anyone who feels they have a little bit of ownership over something has more interest in its well-being. Leaders need to use human nature to assist in accomplishing their visions.
Being the leader means you have options. You can decide to force your vision onto all the individuals under you or you can take care to implement your vision with your team. Notice that when you force a vision onto people I used the phrase “the individuals under you” and when you take care to implement a vision I use the phrase “your team.” This is an important distinction, because force of will can reduce your organization to individuals, rather than uniting them as a team. Ownership of a process, initiative, goal or vision is important because it fosters real interest. A team focused on the success of its process, initiative, goal or vision will beat, hands down, a group of individuals forced to implement the boss’s process, initiative, goal or vision.