Accelerate May 2015 - Page 89

Positive Psychology This is common across many organisations that I have worked with. There are exceptions: leaders who are supported by capable, competent, and dependable subordinates. What is it that they do differently? Clue: ‘they have better people’ is a defeatist’s answer. Speaking to their subordinates, I hear commitment, loyalty, eagerness, engagement, determination and a sense of accomplishment, in their voices. They feel proud and really good that others see them doing well because it tells them that they are stepping up to the challenges of being at their best in delivering on expectations. Some leaders seem to have a knack of getting the best out of people while many others are promoted into roles they are ill-prepared for (classic Peter’s Principle). The transition from being an individual superstar to being a people manager responsible for team results, is almost assumed to be instant. In recent years, organisations are increasingly investing in coaching intervention to support such leadership transitions. However, not every people manager has that opportunity. So what? So here’s something we can all do – developing vision in our people, as a team and individually. According to Michael Zwell (Creating a Culture of Competence, 2000), people tend to do only what they believe they can do, or less. What they do is limited by their self-image and their beliefs about their capabilities, which were often derived from their past experiences. In a sense, behaviour (and results) mirrors their beliefs. So when their self-beliefs change to include a wider range of possibility, their performance would improve too. In a sense, behaviour (and results) mirrors their beliefs. So when their self-beliefs change to include a wider range of possibility, their performance would improve too. For instance, people low in assertiveness probably had learned not to take the lead or be assertive (eg ‘no one asked you’) when they were young. Similarly, we often lament about people with low initiative. These people usually had their initiative squished out of them (eg ‘I told you not to do anything until I tell you’) when they were little. Is it surprising that years of stifling at home, in school and authoritarian systems have produced people who have stopped thinking proactively and acting promptly and independently? Leaders need to do more than provide people with a vision of where they are going. They need to inspire and convince their people to believe that there is a way of getting there together. May 2015 89