It’s the leader’s job to discover what makes each person tick, do their best and produce outstanding results for their construction company

Get over it! People don’t want to follow big bad bosses who order people around and tell them what to do. People want to follow a leader who has a passionate vision, specific targets and goals, excellent communication skills, cares about them, and lets others be involved in making decisions and taking responsibility to get things done.

Another thing to remember is that people who work for you are not you. They don’t think like you and they work differently than you. And just because you pay them a good salary doesn’t mean they’re going to work their fanny off the same way you do. To get them to follow your vision and achieve big goals, you’ve got to give them a reason to want to follow. People are motivated for their reasons, not yours. It’s the leader’s job to discover what makes each person tick, do their best and produce outstanding results.

Think of your children. You tell them what you want them to do, but they don’t always do it. Then you try to bribe them to no avail. Frustrated, you scream, “If you’re not home by 10:00 p.m., I’m going to kill you!” Well, you don’t. You let them off the hook. So they continue to stretch the envelope, as there’s no accountability, no responsibility and no consequences. It seems like nothing works with your kids, just like with employees.

Do they want to do it?
Leadership is really about influencing others to want to do what you want them to do. They key words are “to want to do.” They’ve got to want to do it. You tell and they decide if they’ll do it. When you tell your kids to clean up their room, they decide if they’ll do it based on their needs, consequences, accountabilities and responsibilities.

Ask yourself: “What makes people want to follow me?” You know what doesn’t work with children and employees: confusion, lack of trust, no integrity, no accountability and no consequences.

A lot of managers say, “My people won’t do what I want them to do, so I should get rid of them and try to find some good help.” But will new employees solve the problem? No! The leader has to change to get people to want to follow. It’s the leader’s role to inspire and encourage people so they want to do tasks in the most efficient, productive and fastest way possible.

What people need
People need two things – money and happiness. Money includes fair pay at a secure company with stability and competitive benefits. Happiness is the same as being motivated. Leaders motivate people to perform with exciting leadership, motivation, inspiration, holding people accountable and giving them responsibility. The leader is the catalyst who motivates people to put out more effort with more enthusiasm and get them to go beyond the minimum required.

The buck stops here!
In most companies, the owner or president, as leader, is 100% responsible for everything — sales, profits, growth, quality, customer service, how organized the company is, people, management, etc. Poor leaders blame poor results on circumstances beyond their control. They sit and wait for the economy to turn around, or some other miraculous event, while they don’t do anything different or decisive. Leaders have to make it happen. Now!

Look at Sears. They can blame their slow death on Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or whatever they want to. But in reality, the leaders of Sears were stuck in the past and made decisions to stay the course, do business the same way and not change their business model. The leaders hoped their new competition would go away. The leaders didn’t do what they needed to do. No vision. They got eaten alive, and now continue to scramble to keep up with their competition. It won’t happen. It’s too late.

Change me first!
Achieving great results is the main indicator of the leader’s vision and performance. Real leaders make quick decisive decisions to change their business to get results. Most leaders don’t walk into their office and say, “I’ve made a big decision, I’ve decided to change me, how I manage, how I lead, and the direction of our company.”

Poor leaders walk into their office and point fingers at others by saying: “Why aren’t you making it happen? You’ve got to work harder. You’ve got to get this done now.”

To get people motivated to follow, leaders must have the courage to change themselves first. They must be willing to change their behavior, do something different, innovate, try new methods and go against the grain.

What makes you exciting?
I speak at a lot of conventions to entrepreneurs, small- to medium-size businesses, construction company owners and manufacturing companies. Their common business challenge is how to make a profit against too much competition. Making good profits and getting bottom-line results start with the leader having a dynamic and focused vision people can get excited about. People want to be a part of something exciting and will follow leaders on a mission.

Effective leaders stand up and say, “Here’s where we’re going, and here’s how we’ll make it happen.” Something people can really, really get excited about, instead of the standard: “Work hard and we’ll see how it comes out; and if we do well, maybe we’ll give you bonus or a raise.”

People get tired of repeating the same tasks over and over again without any excitement, vision or passion from leadership — like digging a long ditch. And, when they’re done, they just get another ditch to dig. Then they’ll find some more ditches. This doesn’t make people excited about coming to work and making a difference in the bottom-line.