Leadership : The Law of Attraction: How Some Leaders Attract Great Followers

Brian has over 25 years of experience consulting to all levels of management and staff. His most recent work has included strategy building sessions and processes. He brings to all his assignments a solid background in project management and group facilitation, gained through experience in banking, manufacturing, health care, education and insurance sectors. A Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), with experience gained in this field in both Europe and Canada, he helps organizations align strategy & people.

Brian is a board member of Habitat for Humanity, Edmonton and a member of their Human Resources Committee. Habitat for Humanity, working in conjunction with sponsors, donors, volunteers and partner families, opens the door to home ownership for low income families.

 He can be contacted at brianward@affinitymc.com

"Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying." - Studs Terkel

What attracts us to some leaders, and makes us avoid others?

I once knew a leader who could hold a room full of crusty, hard-nosed manufacturing managers spellbound for hours. People flocked to hear him speak. Even in the cold of winter, at -30C, they would leave hearth and home, and brave the elements to hear the latest news from this CEO.

People commented on his eloquence as a speaker, his genuineness, his authenticity. Most people who met him wished that they were more like him...passionate, enthusiastic, driven, persuasive (you could never say no to him when he requested something, not because of fear, but because of respect).

Others commented on his gentleness, his humanity. He always had time for people. He brightened up any room he entered. He brought hope wherever he went. Oh, and he went. He traveled extensively...he walked about and engaged people in conversations. He would always have time for you.

All of these qualities certainly attracted people to him...he had many loyal and trusted followers. But one quality that stood out above all others was his ability to provide meaning. He could take a manufactured product, a commodity, something that others would see as mundane, and relate a true story of how that product was making a huge, positive difference in the lives of so many people. And coming from him, it never sounded trite or manipulative.

In discussing such meaning, he engaged his followers in a form of dialogue that invited them to challenge him. And challenge him they did. Out of all of that, the organization he led became a vibrant place where new ideas were pursued with vigor, people felt genuinely challenged, and the organization grew exponentially.

A Simple Question...

Now my question to you is this: how do you provide meaning, especially if you are in a leadership position? Or do you even have the foggiest idea what it is I am talking about?

What happens when you walk into a room full of people? Do you feel a buzz? Do you create a buzz? Do you bring hope and inspiration, or do you carry with you a dark cloud? Hope and inspiration is what will attract people to you. Dark clouds will repel them.

Among the current trends, some might even say fads, in management today, are 360 degree feedback and coaching. I would put it to you that you don't need sophisticated feedback systems, or an expensive coach, to show you what is already under your nose.

You're too smart for that.

Trust your instincts...walk into the room, and tell yourself how you feel. Observe, through other peoples' physiology, what they are communicating, non-verbally, about how they feel in your presence. Check your own physiology...are you vital and full of life, or stooped under a dark cloud? Or perhaps you are somewhere in between...being neither bright nor boorish.

If you want to change the effect you have on people, then talk with your coach...or your spouse...or your best friend. But talk with someone.

A Simple Answer...

If you want to lead people towards a 'sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying', if you want to connect with the true leader within you, then you need to give yourself permission to be yourself...your BEST self. Shine. And watch the Law of Attraction gradually work in your favor.

Join us as we pursue a mission of helping to bring meaning into peoples' lives, through their work and ours. After all, isn't that the true meaning of leadership?

Ó Copyright, Brian Ward, Affinity Consulting, 2005

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