There are two ways to influence people as a leader – you can manipulate them, or you can inspire them. There’s nothing wrong with the carrot and stick approach, but if you truly want lasting change and discretionary effort, you must inspire.
Dr. Martyn Newman is a leading expert on the science of mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Hear more from Martyn on Pendulum Talks – here is a brief taste of what to expect from his day one presentation at Pendulum Summit 2018.
At some point in my career, I pondered what psychologists would achieve if we channeled our resources away from defining mental illness and toward understanding nobility – moments where individuals rise to the occasion of life and respond to life’s struggles with creativity and courage.
I wasn’t alone. There was a group of fellow psychologists who felt the same way, together founding the positive psychology movement. Back in the 1990s, however, we lacked any well-formed model of wellbeing.
That’s precisely why, when Dan Goldman published Emotional Intelligence in 1995, nobody saw it coming. Overnight, he announced that everything we thought we knew about the intellect, elite performance, and what has driven that relationship for over a century, was dead wrong.
It wasn’t about sticks and carrots. It wasn’t intellect alone that drove potential, but values. Only when you tap into the things that people care about in the deepest part of their being will you find creative energy that can be manifested to achieve extraordinary things.
It all comes down to this – when you open the lid and peer inside, you’ve got to like what you see. If you don’t, no-one else will. You’ll spend the rest of your days overcompensating for your perceived flaws, distorting your personality and enabling everyone to see through your facade.
All leadership ability comes directly from the deep emotional competence that resides in the pit of your stomach.
Self-competence is when a child goes outside, looks at a tree, and thinks: “You know what, I could get to the top of that tree.” She climbs to the top, and her parent sees her: “Whoa! That’s extraordinary – you must be able to see forever. Next time, let me know and I’ll ensure you’re safe.” This kid comes down with an incredible feeling in the pit of their stomach. With that feeling, you can change the world.
One of the most reliable measures on how people perform in life is optimism. This isn’t always looking on the bright side of life, but something robust and profound. It’s looking beyond the horizon and imagining the possibilities, and then backing this up with a deep resilience that allows you to thrive in the face of adversity.
These people enter organisations and help people foster deep roots of morale that sustain them through setbacks as well as the challenges of ever-changing market conditions. They organically foster innovation and creativity by creating platforms where people can contribute ideas.
Strip away all the psychological jargon and it’s simple. There are two ways to influence people as a leader – you can manipulate them, or you can inspire them. There’s nothing wrong with the carrot and stick approach, but if you truly want lasting change and discretionary effort, you must inspire.
Empathy is the single biggest indicator of creativity in any organisation we research. When someone spends time in your presence, it is imperative to have the skills to suspend your own judgement and forget your own agenda – to quiet that voice in your head. You must allow that person to feel like the centre of the universe.
If you do, you’ll develop a capacity to influence like no-one else on the planet.
Henry David Thoreau put it well, when he said: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. When we bring this out into the open, miracles happen.”