Someone once said that business would be really simple if there were no “people” involved. As funny as that may sound, I am sure you have had moments of frustration with team members who wouldn’t cooperate, employees who couldn’t be motivated,or simple problems that seem to be no-brainers that don’t get addressed.
Yet, motivating other people is a critical part of the formula for achieving your goals and dreams, and in my experience, mastering the “people” formula comes down to four levels of leadership in business. Let me explain….
Level 1: Worker
At the base level is the worker-style leader. They do their job well, don’t ask for much and don’t aspire toward much. Simple. Some owners fit that role as well as the people on their teams.
Level 2: Backstage Leader
This is a person who can overcome their fear of what others think because of their passion, all while rallying people behind the scenes. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it can be damaging to a team. They don’t necessarily want the limelight or the responsibility, but they certainly want their influence to be felt. We all know people like that.
Level 3: Performance Leader
These are the folks who crush it. Their numbers are great. Their results are amazing. They have mastered their craft, and they inspire others because of their achievement. They are like Wonder Woman, charging across the battlefield en route to becoming true legends. We are inspired by legends, and they make for great models. Sometimes that spark of inspiration only burns when a performance leader is around.
Level 4: Inspirational Leader
Let me introduce you to the fourth level of leadership, typified by another movie marvel: Princess Leah from Star Wars. While Wonder Woman was a legend by exuding superhuman performance, Leah created a legacy by inspiring something bigger than herself: the Rebellion. Whether it was encouraging Han Solo to step up and do the right thing or inspiring thousands around the galaxy to resist overwhelming odds for a mission and set of ideals, she defined the inspirational leader.
But since we don’t have George Lucas to script our success, how do we do it? A colleague and I explored this idea and created a process call “The Next Step.” It was designed to help entrepreneurs envision their — you guessed it — next step, particularly those interested in mentorship or applying their business experience to something bigger than themselves.
Reflect for a moment and think of six or seven stories in your past that changed the trajectory of your life. They could be disasters, huge wins or both. They could be from when you were the age of five to just last month. I suggest you take the time to write them down and reflect on what was common across all of them. If there was a recurring theme or message in all those instances, what was it? Allow this message to bleed through every presentation, every mentoring session, “rallying of the troops,” recruiting interview and project you lead. That is what makes you naturally inspirational. It is what ultimately moves others to action, getting them to step up to be better version of themselves, taking responsibility and helping you create a movement
Recently, I coached a large group of salon and spa owners from across the country. As I took them through this process, it became clear that their messages were not about beauty, fashion, hair or even marketing and sales. From some incredibly gritty and obstacle-filled stories, there were lessons of never giving up, taking full responsibility for life, sacrificing self for family, refusing to wear labels that others cruelly stamped upon you, believing in yourself and lifting yourself by lifting others.
It is these messages, delivered verbally and through your actions, that truly strike home in people’s hearts. Your ability to inspire behavioral change in others comes from more than numbers and incentives. It comes from who you are, where you have come from and what your message is to the world and to your team. Lead from there and you will inspire multitudes that you may never even meet. Be a legend and create a legacy.