Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Energizing Others - Jack Welch’s 3 Essential Inborn Leadership Traits Part 2

I respect Jack Welch enormously.  He is a CEO I hope to emulate and learn from but I have to respectfully disagree that 3 of his 5 essential leadership traits are inborn (existing from birth).
Ability to Energize Others
Jack Welch defines “Ability to Energize Others” as “releasing their positive energy, to take any hill”.
The ability to energize others is built on the foundation of positivity, persuasion, and love. This ability can be learned through Part I of this series, studying Aristotle’s 3 modes of persuasion (Ethos, Pathos, and Logos), and having a genuine love of others (Eros).
Releasing Positive Energy
Releasing positive energy requires you to be realistically positive.  See part I of this series for details.  But imparting that energy and convincing others to see the positive side of things requires a bit of persuasion.  Aristotle gave us 3 key principles in order to persuade:  Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.
Ethos (reputation, credibility, and ethics)
Ethos deals with your ability to convince and persuade based on your reputation, intelligence, credibility, moral standards, and likeability. When a project gets stuck or faces a setback, don’t sulk or waste time being discouraged.  Instead, immediately explain that every setback is an opportunity for the team to find a creative way to solve the problem or make the product/solution better.  Then proceed to reframe the problem and ask how we as a team can solve the problem or use the problem to pivot or become better, stronger, and faster. Keeping up the momentum is important but sustained momentum comes from respect and leadership.
You can quickly gain the respect of your team mates by teaching and mentoring them.  Help them learn a marketable skill.  Share your knowledge about negotiation, programming, public speaking, security, hacking, source code analysis, marketing, sales, etc. Once you have helped them to be better, they will naturally be more willing to listen to ideas you present.  Once they are willing to listen, you need to lead with action.
Show that you are willing to do whatever it takes (as long as it is ethical) to get the job done. Do not reject any serious ideas.  Be open to any opportunity that presents itself during the process to solve the problem.  No idea is dumb.  This will allow the person who has the solution but is usually afraid to speak up to participate.  Now that the ball is rolling you have to keep it rolling with trust.
Be transparent to build credibility and trust.  Gain a reputation for shooting straight and saying exactly what you mean.  People are usually willing to support initiatives whole heartedly when they know and understand the exact circumstances.  That is why it is important to let people know what is going on.  They will feel they had a part in making the choice to participate.  Energizing other in today’s technical environment is extremely challenging because managers need to excel at both soft and technical skills.
You got to be someone that other people want to follow.  Millennials are the most technically advanced generation; growing up with both the developed Internet and computers.  To inspire them, you need to be both extremely technical and have exceptional soft skills (EQ, negotiating, sales, networking, communication, etc.)  Millennials are really no different from us when we were younger (maybe more technically savvy) but looking for a way to move up and be successful.  You need to help all of those that work with you to gain career skills to help them move up the career ladder. If you see your goal is to help people progress, then you will energize others in their careers and lives.
Pathos (appealing to their passions and feelings)
Energize others by tying what they are working on to their passions.  Listen and talk to your team members.  Get to know your team members both professionally and personally.  Understand what they are looking for career wise.  Find out what things they are passionate about.  Understand what they feel confident about and their fears.  Learn about what makes them excited or annoyed.  Help them understand how what they are working on is related to their passions and give them responsibilities tied to their interests and goals.
Logos (appealing to logic and reason)
Listen to your team members to understand what their concerns are.  Make sure that you use logic to right wrongs and make decisions.  Hold off on letting your emotions get the better of you in difficult times. However, be not a mat for people to walk on.
Eros (Brotherly/Sisterly Love)
Have the best interests of the people you lead at heart.  If they are going through tough times personally then encourage them, invite them over for dinner, and take them out.  Help them with career decisions such as salary negotiation strategies, mentoring, training, and finding ways of building their confidence up.  Treat them as you would family. 
If you do the five things outlined above, you will energize those around you and enrich their lives.

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