What Does it Mean to Enlist Others as a Leader?
Simply put, great leaders appeal to common ideals, engage the heart and mind, and connect to others with a shared vision. For over 35 years, leadership experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have written the book on how to become a more effective leader.
Through research and evidence, they show that leaders who actually practice being a leader are more successful, improve employee engagement, and increase their organization's financial performance.Learning to enlist others is a tall order for leaders. Kouzes and Posner state: “Whether you are trying to mobilize thousands of people in the community or one person in the workplace, to Enlist Others, you must act on two essentials: Appeal to common ideals and animate the vision.
What Does it Mean to Appeal to Common Ideals and Animate a Vision?
Before the “how” it’s important to talk about the “why”. We all hope to make extraordinary things happen–in our workplaces and in our personal lives. We all want to feel part of something special/unique/bigger than ourselves. To do so, we must believe we can achieve the extraordinary, and rely on others to help us along the way.
As leaders, we must help our teams see, understand, and commit to a common purpose with passion. Thankfully, Jim and Barry have researched a few ideas to help us do so. Here are a few tips to help you Enlist and Engage Others:
Appealing to the “common ideals of others”:
- Connect individual contributions to the larger “why” (larger purpose, helping others, etc.)
- Highlight how your vision is unique to those around you
- Align your dream of the future to the aspirations and passions of your people–help people determine how they belong and contribute to the bigger picture
“Animating the vision”:
- Use symbolic language to give life to shared visions
- Create images through words to define the future so everyone can visualize where we are going
- Practice positive, confident, can-do communication, rather than “naysaying”
- Express your emotions so people can experience what you are trying to explain
- Speak genuinely about the things you care about with passion
Now take action to enlist others by speaking with authenticity and passion about your vision and helping your team find their part in connecting to the bigger picture. For more tips on enlisting and engaging others, explore The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, the model behind The Leadership Challenge - or attend one of our upcoming public programs.