How to change others?
He continued standing in his chair until the teacher’s aide firmly planted him in his seat. Defiantly, he glared. Tight lipped he spat, “You pushed me down on the outside but I’m still standing on the inside.”
There’s a difference between superficial conformity and authentic change. Great leaders create environments where authentic change is possible.
Change for the worse
Angry leaders change others for the worse by creating barriers.
Controlling leaders weaken others with their constant interference.
Passive leaders create passive people and fashion organizational cultures where mediocrity is tolerated, frustration is rampant, and bitterness takes root.
Generosity and change
The power of generosity is its lack of coercion. Essentially, you change yourself. Generosity invites change from the inside rather than forcing external conformity. Generosity side steps pressure and manipulation. It sets people free to experience substantive change.
- Give lavishly. The people that most powerfully enrich others don’t barter and make deals. They give without strings attached.
- Share information. In my opinion, protecting information is usually a sign of weakness, fear, and manipulation. Backstabbers hide information. Granted, regulated, proprietary, or personal information is meant to be private.
- Continually grow. Growing people grow others. Changing people change others.
- Share themselves. Leaders that share their personal journey of frailty to success create environments where people grow and change. Fakers only produce fakers that groan rather than grow.
I’m skeptical. When someone is generous, I wonder what they want. However, since beginning this online experiment called Leadership Freak, I’ve encountered generous people that are authentic change agents. Their generosity challenges my selfishness. Their generosity teaches me generosity. I’m slowly changing. They didn’t tell me to change they showed me the change.
How might generous leaders hold others to high standards and maintain organizational accountability?
I like many of the points you make, but can’t agree that we can change anyone but ourselves.
I believe that when we act in a way someone names “inspiring” or “motivating” we are actually an answer to a question already there: a question in the mind and heart of someone looking for a different way, or an improvement—even if they aren’t completely conscious of their desire/question.
Then we come along, and this seeker, seeing something of an answer, changes themselves, using our information or example in their own unique way.
This is why I never set out to change anyone but me. As I expand and learn, there is better and better chance that I might prove out as the answer to someone’s question, or an uplift that they need to remind them that life is full of opportunity to improve anything we are seeking to improve.
Of course, I am always asking the next question, and looking for the next improvement, so I am delighted when that answer comes along in one who can show me a new perspective.
If there is no question or desire (even if that is only: “What’s in it for me?”), good luck getting anyone interested, let alone changed. A leader who knows how to engage the creativity and curiosity of those who will ask good questions and seek great answers will find change much more organic, distributed, and effortless than the one who is handing out directions and mandates in some centralized effort.
Thanks for bringing this up. I was literally thinking how these days I allow more inspiration into my life than ever before, and I like it!
Best to you this weekend!
PS: What constitutes generosity? Your idea of generosity might be the norm of giving for me (or vice-versa). It might be a baseline.
Since every choice we make has a return to us of some kind, even a person’s generosity is bringing them some sort of return: the question is, what is it?
For some who truly give without expectation of return, it is often the joy of abundance and sharing that abundance (including simple abundance of self-value): in a sense, they feel abundant in a particular area, so it is natural to give from that abundance, which in turn causes, well, more abundance. LOL. It becomes a lovely choice with a lovely return…
Love what you have to say. I think we agree that the best we can do is get outward conformity but real change comes from within.
Regarding generosity. I think you answered pretty well. Generosity, in my opinion, is giving without expecting or demanding other respond in kind.
One might say it’s selfish to give because the benefit you receive is enjoyment. Suggesting that is selfish expands the definition beyond my comfort zone.
Thanks for your insights. I’m always thankful to see that you have dropped in.
Oh, as if I haven’t written enough already, I will add this bit:
As far as negative influence is concerned, I stick to my points above. I am only negatively influenced to the extent that I buy into either the negativity, or my need to stick around and endure or participate in the negativity, or desire to hang in there for some sort of emotional or physical payoff (kinda like selling my soul… ).
I am still self-accountable for my changes, or refusal to change.
I find your insights explaining how negativity wins when we buy into it helpful.
Thanks for coming back a second time.
Excellent post Dan. I love your closing line.
“They didn’t tell me to change they showed me the change.”
This is the essence of leadership. It is not the words we utter, It’s the actions we demonstrate. And you do it well. Have a great weekend!
Thank you for your kindness.
You are as smart as Einstein who said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”
From “The Dilbert Principles:”
“Change is good. You go first.”
Pushing has a reactive concept called “Push-Back.”
It is like “empowerment.” How the heck can anyone really empower anyone else?
Yet I think change CAN be supported and encouraged and all that.
I use a concept called Dis-Un-Empowerment in some of my teachings. The whole idea is to understand what is un-empowering people and then doing things to remove those things. Roadblock removal, for example.
For change, identify an alternative vision of the future and generate a lot of ideas focused on generating a gap between where things are and where they could be for that individual or group and then help them to close that gap.
You cannot push change. But you CAN engage and involve people in doing things a bit differently.
Change. Breakfast of Champions.
Good Morning Dan
In order to change people you as a leader should inspire change. The only way I found that to work is; as you say to lead by example and to live everyday knowing that people are watching you to show them how things are done. If you believe they will believe. Throughout change people follow those that give them hope that at the end, everything will end better than it has been before.
You are far from selfish. I find great, useful and truly transformative stuff in your blog every day. YOU SHARE! You just may not realize how much your personal generosity shows up in this blog and your work. And I have never wondered “what does he want” when reading the blog. That’s how I know of your generosity the most.
The most generous acts there are include being loving, showing self-respect, recognizing dignity and granting another “being” by giving them our full attention when we are with them. Each of these has a profound effect on people and is the easiest way to generate leadership in ourselves and another.
Thanks for bringing those to your passion for leadership.
I really like this post, Dan.
For the past year I have been a pretty passive leader, and it bred the environment you mentioned above. In the past few months I have been working and reworking things, being visibly active, and striving to remove roadblocks. My number one tool has been generosity. My team is definitely curious, surprised, watching, and galvanizing.
Way to hit the nail on the head!
I’m thankful you dropped in to share your story. Nothing like the power of your illustration to drive home useful ideas.
Authentic leaders communicate informations effectively and manipulative leaders create barriers in informations. It is as true as it looks. I appreciate your openess and straightforward statement that fakers only produce fakers that groan rather than grow. I strongly agree to your point. The other things about fakers is that it is very difficult to realise or convince them about their preconceived beliefs.
Generous leaders can hold others for organisational accountability by being first. Then only they can be example or role model. Personal history plays a great role to grow others and set accountability.So, I agree with you that growing people grow others. Changing people change others. On the other hand, opposite is also true. Passive people make others passive and informations blockers try to make others paralysed.
I am curious to know how can authentic leader effectively deal with the people who blocks informations and also have closed connected with higher ups. And I think perhaps the best possible solution to this problem is to showing outcomes and sharing all informations with higher ups without showing any kind of differences. So, it is showing, sharing, communicating and I believe that this practices can paralyse the fakers, backstabbers and informations blockers over a period of time.
Social networking at its best follows the four steps you have outlined. To really get the most from our social networking relationships we need to be givers of information and of ourselves. I know that reading your terrific posts daily helps me to grow. I do still wish you would consider a guest post on my blog. I think your work would be applicable as I have always had a strong interest in leadership.
Great post. I think the key is changing yourself first before you try and chance anyone else. I liked the 4 change agents.
Love the picture and opening paragraph. Is that a quote from somewhere I should know…??
Great post, as ever.
Thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure where “I’m standing on the inside” comes from. It’s something I’ve heard tossed around as an illustration of rebellion.
Interesting post! I think there are many examples of great (or failed) leadership in educational settings. The book “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire” comes to mind. I think there are some examples there that can be applied to leading adults in virtually any setting.
Very inspiring story and it confirms what my internal senses say.
There are times I feel part of the organization where I work where Control is being implemented and that Authenticity and Generosity are far to be found. The fact remains that I have been in this company for 17 years, so I really feel “at home” which makes it hard for me to accept that it “goes like this” as you rise on the career ladder.
Now, I know (and I am not alone who knows) that more people want things different… it means: we are in for change and we are working on this.
my question is: what do others advise me/us in this matter?
I don’t know enough about your situation to offer specific suggestions. However, initiating organizational change that isn’t clearly supported by those at the top is perilous. Even, if verbal consent is given, when real change begins, it’s always awkward and those who gave consent may back down. My best advice is use caution. Test the waters.
If you have authority, use it to implement generosity within your legitimate realm. Clearly demonstrating the business value of generosity may help others change.
Just some thoughts.
Thanks Dan, I think the fact of getting “mandate” from the top is the one we are also mostly “concerned” about and working on.
For this, we have created a “statement” and expressed this to a board of members of board of directors.
We are going to express this through another group of “followers” and have scheduled a meeting with our CEO to make sure we think the same.
Probably similar to your testing the waters comment, I guess…
and I think your last part is true, you can only show your part and not expect others to do so, because you expect them to.
We feel if we can talk with our CEO and share our point of view and find if we agree on this issue, that he can also put into effect his “part” more easily.
Interesting post and couldn’t agree more on the idea of change within an organization occuring because it is led by example. Generosity is truly a powerful force for any relationship.
Pingback: I’m still standing on the inside « Management Briefs
Thanks for this article.
It is refreshing to hear leaders talk about change AND generosity.
Although leaders can’t change people, they can create the space for change.
Creating the space for change in others is where generosity begins.
I think that within each of us there is this desire to be generous, but activating this generosity is often very difficult.
Therefore, as leaders, we need to recognize that our job is extremely multifaceted and holistic.
We need to speak to our employees in ways that create this inner space, that treats each individual as a whole, and can lead to personal change. As leaders, we need to portray generosity as a personal attribute and recognize that in an organization, there is much much more than the bottom line: there is the future of our world and of each person’s development.
I love the expression, “create space for change.”
You are absolutely correct and I have seen examples of all different types of leadership. I think one caution here is that generosity takes time and some see it as a weakness or opportunity. You can not get caught up in ‘keeping up with the Mr./Ms Smith’ as they seem to succeed only later to fall hard! Keep the end goal in mind and that is helping people – all things will take care of themselves in time.
Please drop me an email as I would love to add you to my bcc list of my daily quote! This helps me keep sane and focused and apparently it helps others as well – who knew!
A great thought. Generosity has a huge play in bringing change. I think Energizing people is another important attribute for a change. Energized people take the organizations to newer heights, they experiment and follow different alternatives till they achieve success. Generosity could be as a foundation on which various things like Sharing , Energizing etc could be created for a successful change.
Will love to have your thoughts on this pl.
Wonderful comment. Do you have ideas on how to energize people?