Where you lead, others follow
Managing a situation that involves other people isn't easy. While we can choose to control our own thoughts and actions, we have no control over other people and what they do. So how can we influence them to come along with us in situations where we need or want to work with them?
Leadership and influence are huge topics in my work as a life and performance coach. I had a really insightful conversation with a client a few days ago that I wanted to share because it touches on something fundamentally important:
How we show up always influences how others do too.
This may not always be obvious but it absolutely matters when you are collaborating or leading in pursuit of real goals.
My client has been deciding what action to take in a situation that involves his collaboration with another person.
This moment came up in our conversation where he was reluctant to nail down his counterpart to commit to a shared course of action - even though he has been saying for quite a while that he wants them to do this.
This wasn’t an easy coaching conversation. To be fair I coached him pretty hard and he found it annoying in places but I appreciate him so much for being prepared to go there with me and share this part of our discussion.
Here’s the snippet with the learning nugget:
Coach: Did you confirm their [the client's counterpart] commitment to this course of action?
Client: They said “okay” already, which I assume is a definite yes.
Coach: "Okay" is their agreement with what you just said - not their commitment to this course of action with you.
Client: Mmm Hmm
Coach: If they've failed to make this commitment to you many times before, why do you assume it’s "a definite yes" this time?
Client: Well, if it was me, I’d find it really annoying if I’d already said okay and I meant yes and they asked me to confirm "Yes I'm in" again.
Coach: Why would it be annoying to say Yes again, if you really meant it and were happy to commit?
Client: It wouldn’t.
Coach: So how happy are you with committing to this course of action yourself?
Client: (Pause)... I don’t know. If I’m all in now that commits me to coming up with a follow up action plan and I don’t have one. To be honest, I have no idea right now how I’m going to follow through.
My client's lack of clarity for himself compromised his willingness and ability to push his counterpart to commit, even though my client believes this is absolutely necessary.
Do you ever get a general agreement around what needs to be done but nothing then seems to happen? Do you wonder why there’s no follow through after you “assumed” or “thought” everyone was on the same page? Do you blame others for being slack? Do you question your ability to lead?
Pushing your counterpart in a discussion for explicit agreement secures their commitment. If you’re not prepared to push, it’s time to ask yourself how committed are you really?
If you’re not 100% in, how much can you expect your counterparts to fully step up to do their part too?
The work to create change in the world always starts with us.
When you are FULLY ready to step up, when you are ALL IN committed - EVEN THOUGH you don’t know exactly how you’re going to get to the goal, or it seems really hard - you can take your team with you wherever you lead.
What’s holding you back from being all in no matter what?
Perhaps it is a lack of clarity as to what your next steps should be. Sometimes it can be a lack of conviction that we can really pull the project off - our self belief is not there yet. Sometimes we find ourselves out of alignment with the goal - perhaps it contradicts other aims or may even not sit well with our values.
Coaching will help you to discover what is holding you back from success. It will also help you to define and plan for what success really means for you and your team.
If you're curious to learn more about a success mindset and how you can influence your team members, counterparts or collaborators to achieve shared goals, let's chat. You can book a consultation with me here: