Most of us haven’t developed the psychic powers necessary to understand what is expected of us without it being communicated. Given this limitation, the responsibility to communicate and teach falls back on the leader. Many professionals make the mistake of thinking telling qualifies as selling. Often times, they believe colleagues will be instinctively motivated and sold on an idea simply because they are told what needs to be done.
One manager was ineffective at assigning tasks to people and prevented them from having total ownership of projects. Anyone found working contrary to his methods was removed from the project. Others assigned were given explicit details. As a result, the second group was successful, while their colleagues were charged with failure. In the end, the first group was set up to fail and stripped of their motivation to achieve on future projects.
Surprisingly, many still believe we can eliminate managing or motivating colleagues if we have the right personnel. This belief throws all responsibility for performance outcomes back to the individual and allows the leader to discard the role of coach and mentor. We have seen leaders who took this responsibility to the extreme. In one such case, an executive decided to make hiring decisions based on a coin toss, eliminating the need for screening, training, or managing people.
We must always remember that telling is not teaching. People are more inclined to operate effectively when offered valuable input and feedback. Consider the view from their perspective. If our teams don’t understand the methodology, they are more likely to create shortcuts. As leaders, we must step up to the role of coach and mentor to equip each player with a mission.
Every successful product has a vision. People buy it because they are sold on how well it will perform. The product of vision is sold when the buyer can imagine the view.
Take time to review your objectives. Anticipate obstacles and never dwell on the agony of defeat. Focus discussions on the impact decisions will have on the future. Discuss solutions and forecast the benefits of success to everyone involved. Answer why you would step up to the task and be prepared to sell the vision. When you illustrate the vision, others will make the climb and share the view with you.