Principle : Successful Leaders Inspire Belief
Leading as an Art and a Craft
While much about leading can be learned, there are natural leaders. Natural leaders are those who have sufficient belief in themselves to take on the personal risks of leadership. Natural leaders have the intelligence, drive, and stamina to become effective. But they must still learn to become effective through experience that shapes their beliefs. Natural leaders cannot lead anything and cannot necessarily lead at any level. Some will be best at leading a team, some will be best at leading a division, and some will be best at leading other senior leaders.
Leading Mission, Vision and Culture
Leaders must first develop shared beliefs about what people are doing together. That is, leaders must develop shared beliefs about the organization’s mission. Leaders must also develop shared beliefs about what everyone is working toward, what they are trying to achieve, and where they want to go. That is, leaders must develop a shared vision. Leaders must develop shared beliefs about the way people will work together and how they will relate to each other. That is, they must develop share values. They must develop the organization’s culture.
Leading Motivation and Engagement
Leading with belief involves creating an opportunity for each person to believe that there is a reason to work on the objectives at hand. Leading with belief serves to motivate people. It involves providing others with the opportunity to complete their work using their own ideas and in their own way. Leading with belief serves to naturally empower people. It involves providing others with the opportunity to believe that they, themselves, contribute and make a difference. Leading with belief serves to naturally engage people.
Leading Change as Managing Beliefs
Managing change is about managing beliefs. When it comes to change, beliefs define the initial state, beliefs define the need for change, and beliefs define the target state. Quite simply, beliefs shape the change process. They determine when the process should begin and how long it will take. Beliefs determine how change will occur, and beliefs determine the definition of successful change. Leading change is about managing beliefs that emerge during the change process. It is about addressing the beliefs of those who are skeptical, calming the fears of those who believe they may be adversely impacted, and encouraging those whose belief begins to waver as time goes by.
Leading One’s Own Performance
To a large extent, what people believe about the world, human nature, and themselves, determines whether they want to be leaders and how successful they will be. To be successful, leaders must believe that they are capable, that others have a role in their plans, and that they will find a way. They cannot let themselves become discouraged for any period of time. Leaders must believe that, although they may not always get it right the first time, they will, indeed, get it right. They must believe that they will prevail.