Lead for results and keep the zombies at bay…
They’re the phrases that should send a shiver up your spine if you want to lead for results. I’ve heard them from team members in every industry imaginable. You might recognize them:
- “I’ve just stopped trying.”
- “Why bother?”
- “I give up.”
- “Just go along to get along.”
- “When someone bothers to tell me what to do, then we’ll worry about it.”
- “What’s the point?”
- “It doesn’t matter what you do.”
- “They don’t care, so why should I?”
- “Everything they say from the stage don’t mean anything for me and my life.”
Every time I hear one of these, I shudder.
These are the words whispered by the walking dead – maybe they haven’t left your team or company yet, but there’s no life left in them. They’re just shuffling through the day, going through the motions, like zombies.
If you have people in your team or organization talking this way, one of two things has happened:
1) You have discouraged your team by failing to lead.
2) You have a very negative team member who will be discouraging the rest of the team. (And they’re still there because you’ve failed to lead.)
Either way, it’s time for you to lead. Every person wandering around …
thinking that their effort makes no difference …
feeling that no one cares …
feeling frustrated and refusing to take responsibility …
They’re a walking tragedy of vital human life stunted and withering away. (Not to mention tons of lost productivity for the organization.)
If you want to lead for results, I applaud you. We desperately need good leaders.
But leadership means responsibility. If you have disheartened people on your team who have stopped trying, that’s on you. The reasons are usually straightforward:
- a lack of encouragement or appreciation
- outright hostility and abuse
- no vision
- absurd systems prevent them from being effective
- no autonomy or ability to make meaningful decisions
- they don’t trust you or one another
These are a leader’s responsibilities. And if you’re leading, you’re responsible.
Lead for Results
As every reader of Winning Well knows, you can treat people well and lead for results. They’re not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go together.
- are empowered to make meaningful decisions …
- understand the purpose behind what they’re doing …
- trust their leadership and their team …
- feel appreciated for what they do …
- feel they’re making a difference …
- are held accountable for their contribution …
They own the outcomes, are energized, proactively solve problems, and personally invest in what they’re doing.
Which team member would you rather have?
Where to Begin?
1) If you are leading a team that shows signs of the zombi-fication, honestly assess your motivations.
Are you leading for results and relationships?
If not, I invite you to start small. Pick one area—perhaps encouragement—and honestly show appreciation. Or maybe start by removing a frustrating system that prevents people from doing their best work.
The point is, don’t change everything all at once. You can’t do it and you’ll frustrate yourself. Start small.
If you’re not sure where to start and you have any team members you can trust to give you honest feedback, ask them. Or do a DIY 360 evaluation and pick just one thing—the most frequently occurring item and address it.
People are remarkably graceful. When they see you work on being effective, your credibility soars.
2) If you are in an organization characterized by the zombies, build a cultural oasis.
We Need You to Lead for Results
Whatever your formal role, we need you to lead. We need people who dare to dream, who show us the way. We need people who will take risks to solve problems that others refuse to recognize even exist.
We need people who ask the right questions, who challenge our thinking. We need people who inspire us, who motivate us, and who encourage us.
We need leaders.
We need you.