Will Salyards
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Will Salyards, PhD Blog

Life, Career, Leadership

Turn Employees Into Raving Fans

How did the Occupy Movement grow so rapidly and cause such commitment from its followers? Was it because everyone who shared a similar ideology joined in the cause? Maybe. My belief is that the Occupy Movement was able to expand rapidly for another reason, one that had more to do with turning their members into raving fans. How did they do it? Certainly agreement in a cause motivates people; as leaders we use this kind of motivation regularly. However, without a structure that allows people to participate in what they agree upon, agreement can become little more than ego reinforcement for the leader.

What made Occupy successful and will help our cause too are people having 1) access to information and 2) being allowed to act on it in ways that produce real change in the organization. In other words, their vision began in their structure.

We can say that our organizations are flat and that everyone is a leader – all up to date leadership thinking – but for these words to have meaning, people must be able to gauge their contribution to organizational life by the degree that their actions are based in information and not command, and in the difference they perceive that their influence brings to bear on the organization’s goals.

I think it means that to be at their best people need to co-create what they do. If you’ve been around these kind of leaders then you’ve probably noticed three qualities:

  1. They see that leadership is more a process than a person.
  2. They appreciate that they won’t have the key role in every context.
  3. They are aware that at times they will be followers of others within the organization.

When we lead without appeal to our position for legitimacy, then we best assure organizational ownership and not just conformance to a task. Ready to lead this kind of organization but need some help? That's what I do: I coach leaders into greater development of their abilities. Book a no-cost 15 minute introduction here.