Example Of Democratic Leadership Style
Jack Welch is the legendary retired CEO of General Electric. Welch lived by the principle of setting an example of the behavior he hoped to reproduce in his team. Welch wanted to persuade his associates to be energetic and to inspire others to be energetic. Welch himself constantly displayed energy in his own behavior and translated that energy into the ability to execute. Welch was an expert at using communication and motivation to demonstrate his own energy. Welch proactively looked for ways to make his presence felt. He made a regular practice of sending handwritten notes not only to the people who reported directly to him, but also to hourly workers throughout GE. He wrote the intimate and spontaneous notes with his black felt-tip pen on his chairman's stationery.
The moment he finished the note, it was faxed to the recipient and the original would soon be in that person's hands. By doing this he was able to demonstrate his willingness and commitment to invest his personal energy in those he needed to persuade to follow his example.
Welch desired his team to possess many other characteristics, and if he had not demonstrated those traits in his own behavior, he would not be worthy of the acclaim he enjoys today. Welch's greatest achievement as a leader was to persuade a team of almost 300,000 people to voluntarily change their behavior to move forward in the same direction with an equal amount of enthusiasm for the purpose of exceeding expectations. In the seventeen years he ran GE, Welch presided with astounding success as peer CEOs dropped like flies in other corporations. He led GE to one revenue-earnings record after another. Noel Tichy, a longtime GE observer and University of Michigan management professor, said of Welch, "The two greatest corporate leaders of this century are Alfred Sloan of General Motors and Jack Welch of GE. And Welch would be the greater of the two because he set a new, contemporary paradigm for the corporation that is the model for the twenty-first century." The paradigm Welch established was based on persuasion and example.
Have you ever heard the expression "What you do speaks so loud I can't hear what you sayl" That remark is a famous quote of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, philosopher, and poet who lived in the mid-nineteenth century. Emerson's observation was true in 1850, and it remains true today. Only 7 percent of communication and persuasion is oral. The other 93 percent is the result of what people see and sense based on tone and other nonverbal clues. So if you hope to persuade others to help you and you do things that involve their willingness to exceed expectations, it will be important that you make a practice of exceeding expectations yourself. Nothing persuades more effectively than a leader who sets the right example for his team, children, associates, and colleagues to follow.
Persuasion Element 3: Demonstrate Confidence in What You Say and Do
Rebecca is an associate creative director for a leading advertising agency. Specifically, she works in the business development department and is part of the team responsible for the creative aspects of proposals and pitches delivered to potential new clients. Each new client represents several hundred thousand dollars in revenue for the agency, so the ideas presented in the proposals need to be unique and powerful.
During the initial brainstorming phase of the proposal development process, she worked with others on the creative team to come up with new ideas and concepts. Some ideas would be used, and some would be discarded. Brainstorming is a collaborative exercise, and she often found that her ideas were not getting attention from others and ultimately being excluded from pitches. This was impacting her reputation as a cutting-edge thinker, something that's vital for long-term success in advertising – especially when the firm's revenues are in question. Her ideas were sound and innovative, so what was the problem?
I sat in as an observer during one of the brainstorm sessions. It was a circus of strong personalities, fast talking, and quick thinking! As the other creatives threw around ideas and animatedly explored options, Rebecca sat quietly on the sidelines, clenching her hands and looking visibly tense. Her attempts to break into the conversation were generally ignored, and when she did get the floor, she prefaced each idea with "Sorry to interrupt," "You've probably already thought of this," or "I don't know if this is what the client wants, but …" She knew perfectly well that her ideas were new and exciting, but she didn't want to seem arrogant or pushy. As a resuit, the stronger personalities and louder voices shaped the pitch and diminished her personal involvement and success.
We worked on developing more confidence, both through body language and verbal cues. She stopped introducing her ideas with apologies, and she learned to use a stronger voice. She began to more fully believe in what she had to offer and made others listen. Although not every idea she presents is accepted for each pitch, she gets consideration and respect, and she has done much to shape several winning pitches. Her manager has suggested she be promoted to creative director due to the innovative ideas she has contributed, many of which clients have used. Specifically, she had the idea to crossmarket a client's toothpaste brand with a highly watched reality television show, and solicit audience ideas for new flavors via an online survey. This idea increased exposure of the brand as well as the television show, both of which shared a target audience that found the idea fun. The success of this idea resulted in more viewership for the broadcaster and increased the client's market share.
The ability to present yourself, your requests, and even your vision with confidence is another nonverbal piece of the persuasion formula. Why? Well, it's because of the perception that confident people know what they are doing and can be trusted. Confidence is a natural by-product of certainty.
If you do all the things I suggested to achieve clarity and focus, you will be filled with certainty about your vision, and others will perceive that certainty as confidence. Confidence is produced by understanding your vision's "why," value, and purpose.
There is one other unique key I'd like to share with you relating to confidence. It is difficult for many people to do, but having the ability to speak with authority about what you want to persuade others to do is a strong confidence builder.
People read a lot of meaning into what you say as well as what you don't say. You may be frequently tempted to give a less-than-assertive opinion for the purpose of not appearing arrogant. Those are valid concerns, and there is a correct time and a place for them. When you want to persuade people to do something that involves their making a voluntary change in their behavior, confidence is a more powerful perception than humility. When you say things like "I still have a lot to learn about this" or "You probably know more about this than I do," you are unwittingly sabotaging your own perceived confidence. People want confident leaders who know what they are doing.
Remember, it's your vision, and you own it! You understand its value and purpose, and you know what it will take to execute it. Be confident in what you ask others to do. To learn more, you can check out Example Of Democratic Leadership Style.