When a leader forgets that leadership is supposed to be a system and not a one man business, he never works on engaging the people he leads and ultimately never leads anyone. When you try hard to lead people and you realize that you are not getting as much as you desire from them, you really need to check if you have been engaging them or you have been running the show all alone.
Engaging your people is all about making sure that everyone you claim to be leading is in one way or the other involved in your leadership process. If there is a vision to be accomplished you have to ensure that there are roles involving the people and let them really feel that they are a part of what you are doing.
In one of the leadership positions that I occupied where we were primarily to work on community developments, I realized that people were feeling left out. Sometimes they just came to meetings and they didnt feel they were a part of the whole process so one of the things I came up with was to have smaller groups with different names. Each group had a leader and the group would meet to discuss things with their leaders. The main thing I did was to tell the leader what I expected from them and they would brainstorm on how to achieve it.
That way, nearly every one, felt the impact of the group because the things we were doing were coming from the decisions taken at the group levels and reported to the house. Apart from the fact that the process engaged people, I found out that it saved us some time and we were able to avoid some processes. What we used to do was to table every issue in the general house and discuss one after the other but now we had groups that could spend time focusing on different issues so we could talk less and act more.
In my experience as a leader, I have found out that one of the best ways to get the support of the people is to make sure that you engage people. If you have to create platforms you should do that but make sure it is really necessary.
When you fail to engage people you may have the following issues:
-The people start feeling unwanted.
-When they feel unwanted they will withdraw
-It will be difficult to withdraw instantly so they do it gradually and slow down the pace of work
-In some cases, its usually late before leaders find out, if they do, that the problem was about engaging people.
For a moment you should think about a car. How does it work? Is it the box alone that makes us call it a car? The car, to me, is a system! Different things are working together to help you get a smooth ride. You have a car key which opens the doors to the car and also start the ignition. You have the battery and plug that bring the engine to life. The crank sensor must be working properly before you can even start it whenever you like and drive. If you start driving and your gear refuses to select then you will have another problem! If its raining and the wiper is not working then it will be a miracle to avoid an accident. If you need some measure of comfort then the air conditioner has to be working properly and if its very cold outside then your heater has to be working! Just as all those small things in the car help to give a smooth and safe ride, the contribution of the people you lead matters a lot in leadership so you must engage people in order to lead effectively.
© Fola Daniel Adelesi
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