Force Multipliers are the indispensable leaders who bring out the best out in everyone.
Last year I hosted a going away party for a close friend. It was a small gathering of some of his closest relationships. Within two weeks of the party, my friend would be deployed to Afghanistan where he would spend the next year aiding the military reduction in force. As he sat in my living room pondering his uncertain future, we each took turns, expressing our love for he and his family, providing words of encouragement, and vowing to protect and help provide for his wife and their two young children while he was gone.
As we went around the room, there was one person whose words I personally had been waiting to hear. As a Lt. Colonel he had attended many of these “deployment parties” as he called them, so I knew that his perspective would be unique. But I was in no way prepared for the lasting effects that his words would have on my perspective of leadership.
The officer began his sharing by saying, “You are what we in the army refer to as a “force multiplier.” The overall effectiveness of your group is increased by your presence. Because of your personality and character, you bring out the best in each and every resource you come into contact with.”
Those words resonated with me. As one who trains leaders, I often hear other leaders and even experts give all types of definitions of what a leader is. But whether referring to the ability to provide vision and direction; the ability to solve problems; or the ability to motivate others; there is one question that is rarely asked when talking about leadership effectiveness: “Is more accomplished by the person’s presence than would have occurred if they weren’t there?” Is this leader a “force multiplier?” Whether you’re there or not, here are three practical strategies that will awaken the force multiplier within you.
1. Flex Your Style
Years ago, one of my mentors gave me a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten. He said to me, “Tony, you have to stop leading people with a herd mentality. You’re not just leading a group, you’re leading a group of individuals.” That was an eye opening moment. People don’t come in one flavor; they all have many differences that make them who we are. Whether it is differences in personality, gender, culture, belief systems, or the different experiences that shape and mold how they think and what they value, these differences will have a great effect on what it takes for them to be led effectively.
Unfortunately when leading teams, many leaders don’t consider the individuality of their people. Many have their own leadership “style.” That style is effective in certain situations and with certain people, but no one style works in all situations and with all people. Often the people we find difficult to lead are really just the people that our style doesn’t work with. Leaders who are able to adapt their leadership style to fit the needs of the people they lead and the circumstances they face are consistently more effective than those who stick to their style.
2. Give recognition
Praise and recognition are one the most powerful tools a leader has in his or her arsenal to motivate and engage employees. It’s also one of the most overlooked tools as well. In their book the Carrot Principle, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton state that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. They also report that 65% of North Americans report that they weren’t recognized in the least bit the previous year. Yet Gallup links an increase of recognition with lower turnover, higher customer satisfaction and increased productivity.
If you want to bulletproof your organization from the threat of losing talent to the competition, you need to make sure they receive a consistent dose of recognition.
Praising people for a job well done makes people feel special. Honoring them makes them feel special. Awards and certificates, special gifts, even gift cards can make people feel special. Make them feel special and they’ll want to do whatever they did to earn the praise again. Praise and recognition don’t just affect work, they increase effort. Work is contractual; effort is personal.
3. Have A Positive Attitude All of the time
Years as I was preparing for my first leadership experience, my mentor said something I’ll never forget. He said, “Tony, you just lost the luxury of having a bad day.” I had never thought of it that way. I never considered having a bad day a luxury, but he was right.
What leaders don’t realize is that their emotions, whether positive or negative are contagious. Sigal Barsade, a Wharton management professor who studies the influence of emotions on the workplace says, “Emotions travel from person to person like a virus.” The result of this contagion can have a dramatic effect on your business. A Gallup study by researcher James K. Harter found that business unit sales and profits could be predicted by employees’ emotions. People’s emotions impact their performance, and if they’re healthy and happy they perform better. Colin Powell is famously quoted as saying, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Tony Chatman helps people perform at their best. As a recognized thought leader in the area of human relationships, he instills people with an understanding of the fundamental differences in how people think and act, enabling them to make a real connection with others – whether at work or at home. This understanding leads people to achieve goals productively, through listening and leadership.
Since 2003, Tony has worked with hundreds of corporations and government agencies to help people reach new heights of effectiveness by understanding themselves and others better.
As a keynote speaker, Tony’s passion is contagious. His speeches provide practical, usable knowledge that people use immediately for business and personal success. Recognized as a “tremendous speaker and presenter” with “phenomenal stage presence and intensity,” Tony delivers learning events that consistently garner enthusiastic reviews. Whether small or large groups up to 6,000, audience members feel that he is speaking directly to them because of his ability to connect with everyone, no matter their background.