Why Great Leaders Are Amplifiers
“Amplifiers are the rare and extraordinary leaders who amplify the best in themselves and others. They amplify the messages that matter, amplify the positive mood in a culture and amplify the results achieved.”
– Matt Church
In a world that seems to feed off of negativity, drama and hype our ability to amplify the ‘good news stories’ and positive opportunities around us has never been so important. Unfortunately for many, living and working in environments that predominately focus and feed on the failures, problems and barriers that get in the way of success is all too common. The reality though is that there are many extraordinary events happening, results being produced and acts of genuine kindness being delivered every day. We just need help in seeing and hearing about them – especially with the pace and diversity at which we have now become accustomed to operating at.
Great leaders know this. Not only do they recognize their occurrence but they proactively seek to highlight them and in doing so have a significant impact on those around them and their outcomes. Great leaders are like amplifiers who know how to effectively increase the volume and quality of sound whilst minimizing distortion and unwanted feedback. They amplify the highest of qualities and eliminate the distractions and unwanted noise.
Leaders who can help others recognize this, be it for themselves, their teams or their customers and clients are invaluable. People feel more energized by their presence and more confident that success can be achieved with the right focus. They are driven to put their best foot forward and be a part of the ‘extraordinary’. Just as success creates success so to does the habit of belief that extraordinary results are possible.
Interestingly our minds seem to work a lot like amplifiers– whatever we choose to listen to and focus on, the more enlarged the sound and impact seems to become in our mind. This is why it is so important to ensure that we focus our energy on amplifying the right things. Dwelling on the wrong things can set our career (and life) on a very different path or trajectory to the one that is possible if we choose to focus on the right things.
To build high performance, we as leaders need to ensure that we are focused on amplifying the individual strengths, extraordinary results and constructive behaviours that contribute to ongoing success. To do this we need to ensure that we are attracting and employing the right people for our organisations and teams; that we are creating workplace cultures that recognise individual contributions and reward healthy positive behaviours (and importantly remove that are not); and that we give people the freedom to operate from a place of strength.
However as Jon Stewart so aptly notes ‘if we amplify everything, we hear nothing’. As such we need to learn to be discerning about what constitutes the ‘extraordinary and successful’. We also need to be brave enough to address the results and behaviours that detract us from achieving what we set out to do. Failing to do so results in a culture of ‘anything goes’ where the lines between success and status quo or healthy and unhealthy prevail.
As leaders I would encourage you to reflect on how you amplify the following 5 areas in order to build individual, team and organisational success:
- Strengths: Tom Rath & Barrie Conchie, authors of Strength Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow – conducted studies that revealed engagement increased eightfold when leaders focused on their employee’s strengths as well as their own increasing from 9% to 73%.
- Behaviours: How we act and behave in our workplace is fundamental to success – both our individual and overall team and organisational success. Invariably they are the ‘linchpin’ not only in our abilities to deliver but in the timeliness and quality the results produced.
- Results: Recognising and applauding results – both incrementally and at the point of final delivery – is important in helping to define what ‘great’ looks like. Amplifying great results also helps drive engagement, energy and productivity.
- Contributions: Often success is the ‘sum or parts’ where a number of individuals have played a role in supporting the overall delivery. Learning to acknowledge the contributions of others is fundamental to elevating healthy workplace performance.
- Learning: Not everything we undertake is considered a success. How we embrace failure, recognise it and learn from it is fundamentally important to creating healthy environments that encourage us to step out of our comfort zone. It also supports our efforts to create new ways of working, innovate and problem solve.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts.