Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
People are not your puppets
When we are interacting with other people, the only thing under our control is our own behavior.
We can’t control someone else. And that’s a GOOD thing.
As leaders, we can INFLUENCE people. We can encourage them to do the thing we want them to do, and we can discourage them from doing the stuff we don’t want them to do.
To use this influence effectively, we can communicate what we want people to do, and what we don’t want them to do.
We can also communicate the consequences. Sometimes, this is unnecessary—if the boss gives someone assignments and they don’t do them, they’re going to be fired. But most of the time, how we communicate can maximize people’s buy-in. “I’d be really happy if you can get this done by Thursday,” or “Please stop CCing everyone in the email responses, so that our inboxes don’t all fill up,” or “I know how good it will be for your reputation as a closer if you land this client.”
This has obvious implications in the workplace, since we know it’s a transactional, you-do-work-and-I-give-you-money paradigm. But this can also be used as a parent. Let your kids know that THEIR own behavior is under THEIR control, and that their actions control whether they get rewards or punishments. “Once you’ve cleaned your room, you can have screen time” works well. Or “You only get dessert if you have eaten your veggies and your chicken.” With this one, we avoided all those annoying “just two more bites” negotiations. If they didn’t eat the healthy dinner, they didn’t get dessert. Stated. Consistently enforced. It was entirely under their control. As they grew up, they understood that their behavior had consequences, and their choices influenced those consequences.
People have control over their own behavior, and you have control over yours. If you make good behavior choices, you can influence the choices other people make.
It’s the essence of effective leadership.