Leadership lessons come from all sorts of different places. Persons, events, articles, conversations, quotes, scriptures. Some intended as motivational and inspirational, some happenstance and epiphanic.
As a fan of the sci-fi genre, I have spent too much time traveling “where no person has gone before.”
While those hours at first blush may seem like time lost that could have been “sharpening the axe”, there is, however, at least one leadership lesson that can be learned from Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise.
With the immense scope of the universe laid out before them and untold adventures and dangers awaiting them, the crew poised at their posts awaiting the command to go to warp, Captain Picard stands stoically on the bridge and barks out the order, “Engage!”
A recent poll by Gallup describes the incredible challenge that faces business leaders.
According to Gallup, a majority of American workers are not engaged at work, only 29% of workers polled are engaged at work, 52% are not engaged and 19% are “actively disengaged”. These results are similar across many demographics, are not influenced by earnings level and have held relatively steady for years.
Years ago I took an executive position at company that had been profitable for years but lacked effective leadership. Within the company I found several persons of influence that had “checked out.”
As I began to connect with them, to understand where the company had been, where it had been successful and get a history of the company; I heard a lot of “whatevers” and “don’t cares.”
Those responses showed the depth of the indifference within the company. These individuals had become disengaged.
“The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. Indifference is the complete lack of passion.”
Love and hate are both passion words. Both indicate strong emotions or passion regarding the subject. Both can be channeled into positive actions. Indifference can not be controlled or predicted.
“Indifference is a cancer to your organization.”
As leaders we are compelled to engender interest, excitement and passion in the persons within the organization. For the good of the individuals and for the good of the organization. Curt Rosengren at Passion Catalyst , defines passion as
“The energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.”
The natural question then is this:
What can we do as leaders to engage our people, to engender passion in them, to get them to bring more of themselves into what they do?
The leadership trait best associated with this is charisma.
Charismatic figures almost indescribably draw people to their cause, make people want to follow them, to believe in their purpose, to go beyond normal means to assist.
Fortunately for us mere mortals, charisma is not simply a God-given gift, it is not an angelic stream of light that shines from above illuminating the head and shoulders of the anointed few. Charisma is the ability to:
- Be genuine
- Be caring
- Be communicative
- Be passionate
- Be “other person” centered
- Be committed to a common-good goal
- Be tireless in seeing that all individuals are rewarded equally