Sunday, January 29, 2012

What I learned from Simon Sinek: To inspire is greater than gaining Alpha status

What I learned from Simon Sinek: To inspire is greater than gaining Alpha status

Most people believe that that when it comes to leadership and how you can be an influencer at the workplace, it’s either you need you need to be an “Alpha Male” or an “Alpha Geek” and other types of Alphas so others will follow you. 
We need to change this mindset.  Being the leader of the pack does not necessarily require gaining Alpha status. Let’s put this concept in a geek’s perspective. 
If you are behind the service desk, specifically the technical support department, others look up to you if you are the Alpha Geek; the person who knows almost every technical detail about the product or the service your company is offering.  You are the go to guy because you can troubleshoot complex issues in a breeze.  You can be the Subject Matter Expert (SME) in your organization.  An SME is someone who has expert –level knowledge on a specific subject; it may be industry laws and regulation, Service Level Agreements, database optimization, and other technical stuff.  You own this domain; you live and breathe on this stuff.  You can also be the guy or girl who gets things done because you know how to push and “Boss” people around.   These Alphas lead because of authority, others are forced to follow them or face their wrath.  These bossy Alphas are the ones that can go and speak directly to C-level executives because they simply have the balls to speak with them. 
You can be any of these types of Alphas and be the leader of your pack.  You are the leader because you possess something others don’t have, a skill, power and/or authority. However there is a different route to leadership.  We can still be leaders even though we are at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy or at the bottom of the food chain.   If you have the natural ability or at least try to make it your purpose to inspire others do better on what they do. 
Here are some simple things that you can do to inspire people you work with at the workplace:

If you know a success story, share it. 
Focus on how the hero was able to accomplish the goal and overcome adversity.  Everyone loves a monomyth; the story of a hero’s journey, leaving the comfort of his home to answer the call of adventure, and going back home victorious.  This bullet works best when dealing with a project gone astray and the deadline was yesterday.

Know the first names and last names of the people you work with.
This sounds obvious but in big companies, most only know each other by last name and what is their position at work.  Often times, the names of those with key positions are the ones mostly remembered by other employees. 

Make it a habit to always check “How is family doing?” before you ask for a work-related favor or task.
Show compassion towards the people you work with and be vocal that you always want them to do well in life.

Let the other person stuck at the cubicle right next to you that you are his friend first before his or her co-worker. 
Share stories, check on each other, and spend lunch and coffee breaks.  Developing a bond with people you work with makes problem-solving fun.

Show to the people you work with that you trust their experience over technology
You will always prioritize listening to what your co-worker has to say on a specific issue rather than focus on what software is saying about a specific issue or task.  In the absence of data, we rely on people with enough experience about an issue to make an intelligent decision what to do next.  Wisdom will never be a trait of computer software.

Approach people you work with at their desk and engage them about a work-related task or issue
Avoid wasting bandwidth through endless e-mail exchanges.  Nothing beats face-to-face communication when trying to clarify something.  A lot of issues gets escalated merely because of “lost in translation” – the e-mail thread has gone too long that the root cause of the issue is now buried with hearsay.

There you go. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope this works for you while you climb the corporate ladder.  Just don’t forget to help the people you work with in climbing their own ladders J

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