is not about getting people
to do what they want. If they did what
they want, you wouldn't be needed as a
leader. Instead, leadership is about getting
people to do what they don't want to do
(or don't think they can do) and
be ardently committed to doing it.
This paradox lies at the heart of all
which involves simply the care and feeding
of your organizational elephant, great
leadership gets that elephant to jump.
Anyone who knows anything about elephants
knows that they may run, they may stand
on their hind legs, they may kneel on
their fore legs, they may roll over; but
they don't jump.
And that's what leadership is all about:
getting organizations to do what they
usually can't do, i.e., getting great
Now, you can't do the jumping yourself.
The elephant must do it. You can't push
the elephant into the air. It must jump
of its own volition.
Making the elephant jump involves cultivating
a special relationship
between the leader and the people of the
misunderstand that relationship. They
try to use fear
and pain to spur the activity needed
to achieve consistently great results.
"Sure, I'll get this elephant to
jump. Just give me a cattle prod!"
But inducing fear and pain are habit forming
and ultimately destructive both to the
and the people.
To make the elephant jump -- not now and
then but consistently, i.e., to lead people
to consistently to achieve great results
-- deep, human emotional bonding between
leader and people must take place. And
fundamental to that bonding is the nature
of the heart of the leader.
This is the secret: You can't get the
elephant to jump unless you have a kind
heart. Kindness in leadership means following
the Leadership Imperative: "I will
lead people in such a way that we not
only achieve the needed results but they
become better as leaders and people."
Most leaders focus on the first part "getting
better results" and forget about
the second part. But in truth,
when you have a kind heart, getting results
and helping people be better are not two
things but one.
From now on, see every leadership challenge
you face as a way of having people increase
their courage, their tenacity, and their
leadership abilities. Cultivating that
perspective is a kindness.
But don't mistake
kindness for being nice. Don't mistake
kindness for having people simply feel
good. Don't mistake kindness for allowing
people to indulge the worst aspects of
their character, laziness,
inconsiderateness, selfishness, etc.
Furthermore, you may be kind and have
people be frustrated with you. Many great
leaders I've had relationships with got
me frustrated as they had me go through
the trouble of tackling challenges I might
not otherwise have tackled. (In fact,
deep, human, emotional bonding cannot
happen without a great deal of frustration.)
But I was motivated
despite my frustrations because I recognized
that they essentially had my best interests
Yes, through skill, persuasiveness, understanding,
forcefulness, education, and guidance,
you can get the elephant to jump -- as
long as you do it through the kindness
of your heart.
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