Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about leadership skills and how to become a better leader at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.
Full Video Transcript:
Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about leadership and how to be a good leader. I’m going to give you four pillars of being a good leader. Are there more? Of course there are more. There are countless others. But these are four that I’m going to provide today that I hope will help you be a more effective leader in whatever capacity you have within your life.
Number one, you’re the boss. Use your authority judiciously. Be fair. One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell. He has a number of books about leadership. But there’s one area where I kind of disagree with him. He always talks about the distinction between you’re not a leader if you just have people following you because of authority, the authority you have. The sign of a true leader is one where people follow them voluntarily. People want to follow them.
Now, I agree with that for sure, but the reality is that most times you are also the boss. You are the boss. Now, people may be following you voluntarily and that’s fantastic, but at the same time you are the boss in that situation, let’s say, at work. You’ve got authority over those people. You need to use that power in a fair, judicial way. So number one is be fair with the people who you’re leading. If you’re not fair, the whole thing is going to collapse.
Number two, you need to know that you don’t need domain expertise in the area in which you’re a leader. In other words, if you don’t know—like my brother, for example. He has a team of people that report in to him and he doesn’t necessarily have as much knowledge in those areas that they work as they do. You don’t need it. If you’re a manager or a leader, your skill set is to lead and to manage. That is an entirely different skill set. You don’t need to have domain expertise in the area in which you’re a leader. What you need is leadership skills, and just the awareness of that will help as you lead those people forward. You need to focus on management skills and leadership skills to be an effective leader.
Number three, if you go in this with a selfish motive of “what can I squeeze out these people,” it’s not going to work. And aside from that, it’s just not the right thing to do. You need to help these people become better people. You need to help these people succeed at work. Most people want to do a good job. It’s a natural human instinct. People want to succeed. They want to do a good job.
If you’re a leader, help your people become better people. If you do that, whatever it is you want out of the game, it’s going to happen anyway. But you need to do it by helping them develop themselves. That’s going to make them happy and it’s going to increase productivity.
There are all kinds of research about this where if you focus on helping people grow, their productivity goes up dramatically. So you’ll end up getting more out of them if you have an unselfish—you see that paradox? The most selfish thing you can do as a leader is be unselfish and help them grow, because when they grow they become more productive and happier, and that leads to you getting what you want at the same time.
So don’t go into leadership or into your management role with a selfish motive. Go in there with the idea of helping your people become better people and grow as individuals. If you do that, you’re going to get what you want anyway.
And number four, focus on the positive. Again, tons of research on positive psychology. One of the things they found is something called the Losada line, which is like 2.9-something to 1. It’s a ratio, essentially 3 to 1, to make it easy for the numbers. But essentially what they found is that the number of positive occurrences, the number of positive things in a person’s life needed to offset one negative is 2.9-something. So let’s say it’s 3. So you need 3 positive to outweigh one negative in a person’s life.
So what they’ve done in one particular study that I read about is they looked at companies above the Losada line, so in other words, companies that focus on having at least 3 to 1 positive focus or interactions relative to negative. Of course, most companies are the inverse of that. They have like 3 to 1 negative. People are always focusing on the problem, the problem, “This is what you did wrong,” “This is what needs to improve.” But companies that focus on the positive, “Here’s what you did right,” “Here’s how we can do it better,” and focus on the positive and celebrating victories beyond that 3 to 1 ratio, they were like 30% more productive or 37% higher sales, 20% higher accuracy, all kinds of significant improvements in productivity when you have a positive approach.
So if you want to be a better leader, again, four things. Number one, use your authority fairly. Number two, you don’t need domain expertise. Focus on the skill set of being a good manager, being a good leader. That’s what you need more than anything else. Number three, don’t go into this with a selfish motive. Help your people grow as individuals. And number four, focus on the positive. If you focus on the positive, everyone’s going to be happier. You’re going to have higher productivity and lower turnover at the same time.
I hope this helps. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.