Visionary leader“Are you gonna go my way?”

Challenge or invitation? As a leader of a small organization, how do you expect your team to go along with you? This isn’t about you becoming a tyrant or the boss from hell! That smacks a little too much of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. Great leaders understand how use their desire and authority to create a positive culture which makes people want to work for them and grow the business.

Founders believe their idea is something that will “engage and rearrange and turn the world back to one.” There is a level of passion you possess and there are people in your organization that believe in who you are or in the idea. It can be intimidating to step up and become more than just the chief technologist. You are the one who advocates for how your vision is going to make your business an industry leader (even the industry leader) and make a decent profit. The most powerful way to get your message across is to make it part of your everyday actions. In fact, you have to testify, witness, to its power and wonder.

Lenny Kravitz has a consistent message in his music. He sings about love in almost every song and has done this throughout his career. Just listen to his greatest hits album to hear this theme. This is a manifestation of his vision. He knows the power and wonder of his message. What is he doing that you can use for yourself?

  • Choose to inhabit who you are. Lenny Kravitz has a reputation for not getting caught up in the whole rockstar thing. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t turn it on when he has to or wants to. You are the leader of your organization. This doesn’t mean that to be effective you have to be highly charismatic. Be yourself and step it up when you have to. Shying away from this responsibility leaves your team without a pilot. They need your confidence and assurance that this a great idea worth commercializing along with your willingness to stretch your skills to include the unsexy parts of managment.
  • Have fun. It’s amazing how inspiring it is to have lunch together or simply asking, “how’s it going?” with your full attention. People desire a work environment that encourages them and allows them to work without fear or stress. You will get so much information about what parts of your business are functioning smoothly and what parts need your direct attention.

When you step beyond the role of the chief technologist/architect/worker bee to become CEO, you are choosing roles such as visionary, manager, and strategist. Getting people used to your new and very different role is tough. A current client is now going through the process of identifying which jobs he can delegate. One thing that makes this tough is that he is redefining what his role will entail. Another thing that makes this tough is the business is not quite big enough for him to completely inhabit his role as CEO. His organization needs his faith and determination.

Keeping the faith is crucial to going forward. This is where you witness to the desire, belief, and joy you get out of your Big Idea and vision. It isn’t when things are going well or even poorly that your team needs your enthusiasm or stability. It’s during the mundane of the days and weeks as you work on projects. The slog of the regular workday can be deflating because there isn’t anything to fight against or push against. This is the easy way to inspire people to action. The harder way is that the message that every small step brings you closer to accomplishing the goal.

While Lenny Kravitz may not be the first person you think of as an inspiration as a business guru but he’s got the question you need to ask your team: “Are you gonna go my way because I got to know.”


What are you doing to inspire your team already?

Are you issuing a challenge or an invitation to go your way?