“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton

The ultimate compliment a leader can receive is for a team member to claim they would ‘work for or follow you anywhere’ or in fact actually do that should their leader move to another organisation or industry.

Why do some leaders create inspire more than others?  It takes something extra special for a leader to create that level of commitment and loyalty.

A survey conducted by Gallup Poll asked people to identify a leader and to list three words that “best describe what this person contributes to your life.”

  • Trust (other words cited by followers included: honesty, integrity, and respect)
  • Compassion (other words cited by followers included: caring, friendship, happiness, and love)
  • Stability (other words cited by followers included: security, strength, support, and peace)
  • Hope (other words cited by followers included: direction, faith, and guidance)

These answers appeared consistently whether describing a leader people had known for a long time or one which was relatively new to them.

Sigmund Freud came up with the concept of transference as the basis for our response to certain leaders and leadership styles.  He believed that people were transferring experiences and emotions from past relationships onto the present.  In effect, we prefer leaders who remind us, usually subconsciously, of people we have loved and respected in the past.

The new leaders are triggering a response which is wired into the brain through the well-trodden neural pathways created at some earlier stage in the follower’s lifetime.

When you look at the types of words listed in the Gallup Poll survey results, it is no surprise that we see words like honesty, caring, strength, support and guidance.  These are the words that are very closely intertwined with a positive and caring relationship.

As leader you can create the same sort of feelings in your team members so they will follow you anywhere.  Honest and open communication, sharing, positivity and respect are the qualities you need to show and share with your team.

Managing people is one of the most challenging responsibilities, but when done well, one of the most rewarding and satisfying as you have the opportunity to create lasting and positive impact on the ongoing success of the individuals in your team.

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