5 Ways You Can Be A Better Leader Today
By Jeremiah Miller, Forging Leaders
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something because HE wants to do it.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower.
There are two approaches to getting what you want. I call these two methods Push and Pull.
Push is, predictably, being pushy. Pushing looks like demanding, intimidating, pleading, manipulating. When you push, you are trying to get them to do it because YOU want them to do it.
Pushing can get you what you want in that moment; but it will never get you more than you ask for. Bosses who Push get the bare minimum from their employees; just enough to keep their jobs. When parents push, they get kids who stick to the letter of the law, but do their best to avoid delivering on the spirit of the law; they hide their broccoli under their napkin, or they push their toys under the bed in order to ”clean their room.”
The thing is, Pushing pushes people apart. Pushing ruins relationships. If your employees are spending their work-time on monster.com, if your kids move out as soon as they are able, if you’re marriage has more resentment than love, you’ve been a busy Pusher.
As General Eisenhower said, there is another way.
It is called Pull. Pulling is the art of getting other people to do what you want, because THEY want to do it. While Pushing will only get you the bare minimum, Pulling often gets you much more than you asked for or expected. Pulling looks like asking questions, modeling the behavior you want from others, telling stories, making it fun, and bringing out people’s sense of intrinsic motivation. As opposed to Pushing, Pulling strengthens relationships, it builds trust. Pulling pulls people together.
Here are 5 ways you can start Pulling today:
- Just listen. The next time someone comes to you with a problem, DON’T TRY TO SOLVE IT. Ask them questions like “what do you think you should do?” and “What do you want to happen?”, and “Is there anything that I can do to support you in this?”
Pushers are always saying things like “if I were you”, “you should”, and “what you need to do is”. Pushers are always solving other people’s problems, and in the process, invalidating and creating resentment in the people around them. Guys, I know that we get a lot of our value by fixing things and rescuing those around us, but knock it off.
When you Push in this situation, you are actually communicating “I don’t believe that you can solve you own problems.” and “I care more about giving you my opinion than I do about listening to yours.”
When you Pull in this situation, you are actually communicating “I trust you and believe in you enough to know that you are capable of solving this problem.” and “I am here if you need me, but you can do this.”
- Make it fun. Pulling is all about waking the intrinsic motivation that slumbers inside all of us. How can you incorporate elements of game play into the work you want done? Can you create a chore scoreboard that your kids can use to add points each time they clean their room, make their bed, or finish their dinner? Maybe their points can be used to earn special privileges or rewards? The same thing can be done at work. Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft have realized that by making work more fun, they will see better results. So, what can you do to “fun it up?”
- Tell a remarkable story. People are looking for purpose and meaning in life. Do you have a story that people want to be part of? Having a great story is the best way to answer the question “Why should I give a crap?” Watch this 1 minute video, then answer the question “why doesn’t your company, or family have a story at least as compelling as this?”
- Trust the other guy first. Pulling means going first, so others can follow your example. Pick someone you would like to have a better relationship with and show them trust by asking their opinion about something important. Chances are they will start trusting you back.
- Find out what they are passionate about. Do you know what makes the people on your team tick? If you don’t, how do you expect to lead them? If you don’t know what is truly important to them, how can you help them to see the connection between what you want them to do and what they think is important?
Let’s face it. The world needs more great leaders, not more dictators. So, if you aren’t satisfied with the results you are getting from the members of your team at work, or at home, I encourage you to pick one of these 5 suggestions and start Pulling.
Take the lead,
contact Jeremiah at