Leadership vs Pushership By Jack M. Zufelt

My definition of leadership is different than most. A leader is someone who will do what they are asked to do when the person who asked them is not there. Leadership is not hard to cultivate if certain, crucial elements are there.

If they are not there management finds themselves pushing people and that always brings about resistance and frustration because no one likes to be pushed. We willingly follow and, in fact, actually enjoy being led if we trust the leader and if we want to go where the leader is taking us.

Many think that getting those they supervise to do intense goal setting, or read certain personal development or management skills books, attend management classes, listen to top speakers or leaders in their field and many other “techniques” taught by gurus and trainers are the key to getting people to take action and good leadership. They are not.

If everything the self-help and leadership gurus tell us to do worked why aren’t they more effective? Millions have done all these things but didn’t get the results expected.

The April 2000 SKY Magazine featured an article titled Ten Years…Seven Habits – Just How “Highly Effective” have Stephen Covey’s Habits Remained?  In that article they say “Although most of us have probably absorbed the principles behind the habits as part of our basic education, we don’t apply them to our lives. It’s almost ‘duh!’” says Covey. “What’s common sense is not common practice.”

Why isn’t it common practice? The answer is quite simple.

**WARNING** What you are about to read will shatter conventional self-help and leadership theories that well-meaning trainers and gurus have been teaching for the past 75 + years. In fact – even though they mean well — what they are teaching is stunting or even permanently destroying your chance to be a successful leader. I know that is strong language but it is the truth.

Achieving excellence as a leader and manager is available to anyone but only if they follow the laws that govern all success. The most important law of success is often completely ignored. I call it the Law of Wants. If this law is not obeyed to the letter mediocrity, discouragement and failure are the result.

There is a vital ingredient, which is the true, root cause of all achievement in all areas of life including leadership.  This critical element for success is not based on a person’s authority or language skills or on what countless experts and gurus have been teaching. They all pretty much serve up the same old philosophies based on team building, time management, goal setting, self-help books, doing daily affirmations, PMA, listening to motivational speakers or breaking boards and walking on hot coals at retreats, etc., etc.

These so-called “keys” to success have all been embraced by millions of people in the hope of finding happiness and success. Billions of dollars and untold millions of hours have been spent on seminars and books and tapes and techniques. But they don’t work like everyone thought they would. If all these things worked then why are managers and leaders still searching for the magic bullet that will help them get the results they want?

There is a better, simpler way. 

 All that is needed to achieve excellence as a manager or leader in any area is to discover what the people want individually and offer to help them get it if it falls within the scope of your and their abilities.

To find that out provides that vital ingredient, which can only come from them, is the catalyst for them to take action of your requests of them as their manager or leader. Are excellence in leadership and organizational productivity really that simple?  Absolutely. All leaders in the world, good and bad, were, and are, able to do this.

Throughout history leaders from mighty kings to powerful generals to inspiring, rabble-rousing upstarts have rallied others to their causes be they just or unjust. The more dedicated and committed those followers were, the more the kings and generals revolutionists believed that they themselves were the great motivators.

However, these leaders were, at best, disillusioned. What those leaders excelled at was inspiring their minions by tapping into their Core Desiresã. The closer a leader’s vision corresponded with his or her followers’ Core Desires, the greater and more powerful the leader became.

The same holds true on all scales of leadership. Finding people’s Core Desires and helping them get it will make them willing followers.

Most of them, including people like Joan of Arc, Gandhi, did not employ any of the techniques taught today. Most of what is taught today as “keys” to success are myths because they simply don’t work. Let’s dispel some of those myths.

Myth #1. Writing down a list of goals paper is critical to our success.  The reigning king of all success techniques is goal setting. We’ve all been taught that if we will write down our goals we’ll be successful. And if we don’t we won’t.  That’s just not true.  My research shows that 7 or 8 out of 10 things a person writes on a goal list never happens. Everyone has many goals they didn’t finish and many they didn’t even start on.  Besides, we all accomplish many things everyday that weren’t written down on paper. Simply stated, goal setting doesn’t work.

Myth #2.  Motivational speakers are important. How long did you stay motivated after hearing a great speaker?  Most people say: “two weeks”, “two days”, “`till I got out of the parking lot”. It’s always a very short time. The conclusion that must be drawn is that, no matter how good they are, motivational speakers have no lasting affect.  

Myth #3.  Self-help books are what will make us all successful. How many do you have in your library? 2? 5? 20? 100? Just how many does it take?  I say none. Most just end up being expensive dust collectors.

Myth #4.  Daily affirmations help make you successful. Do you like people to lie to you? Of course not.  Then why is it okay to lie to yourself? It isn’t. But that’s exactly what the concept of daily affirmations asks you to do. Stating hundreds of times that your organization has doubled it’s sales, or that you are out of debt or that you weigh 125 pounds or have an income of $10,000 a month or drive a Mercedes are all lies if they haven’t happened. I have proven that repeating them over and over will not make them happen. Supposedly your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a truth and a lie. Even if that is true, your conscious mind sure does. Lying never works.

There are many more leadership and self-help myths that exist which just don’t work yet people keep on doing them.  Why?  Because we have been told by some guru that these things are what we must do to excel and achieve success in sales and marketing. We want success so badly we blindly accept whatever the guru says. When these precepts don’t work for us, we will either try the same thing again with renewed vigor or we throw more money into the next seminar, book or technique.   

What is this vital ingredient that makes people become leaders?

What is the component that must be present before excellence in managing an organization can be achieved? Where is the switch to our God-given power that I call the Conquering Force to do, have or become whatever we want? Where does the unstoppable drive and strength come from to do that which is unpleasant, hard, or way out of our comfort zones? Where do we go to help those we have stewardship over getting enthusiasm and discipline? How can we help the people in our organization tap into their own source of inner strength and self-motivation that keeps them persisting, constantly learning truths, and being determined to make the necessary character and personality changes required for the level of excellence and success they want? 

The answer is uncomplicated and it is the same for all of the questions.

All these things come from this one very essential ingredient — Genuine Core Desires. That’s the answer.

A Core Desire is something you want so badly it pierces you to the very core of your heart. Half-hearted anything just doesn’t cut it. When you accurately identify a person’s Core Desire it automatically unleashes what I call the Conquering Force that is within them.  This Conquering Force causes them to have the discipline and ability to overcome all obstacles in their way.  Imagine a whole team having the same Core Desire! That’s what happened with the Apollo 13 ground crew. They all had a Core Desire to bring home those astronauts and they literally did the impossible.

Many years ago Mark Twain identified a problem that is the crux of why people don’t succeed.  He said, “I can show anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is, I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”  More recently Earl Nightingale confirmed that. He said, “Today in America people can become whatever they want. Trouble is, most don’t know what they want.”  

Most people don’t know how to identify their Core Desires so as a manager or leader you must help them do it because if you don’t this old Welch proverb will apply to your organization: “The hand will not reach for what the heart does not long for.”  This is where clock watchers come from.

Everything we want in this life can be measured on a scale from 1 to 100. Core Desires are the100s. If the desire for the end result is a 70 on the scale we’ll get 70% of the way there. Any obstacle that is bigger than the desire will stop us permanently just like a dam does water. 

There are no barriers at 100 on the scale that can stop you. Any one who succeeds at anything or buys anything does so because it is a Core Desire, at 100 on the scale…and for no other reason.

To drill down to a person’s Core Desires ask them this simple question: What do you want that you are not currently getting? As soon as you get an answer, ask this question: If you had that what would it give me that you’re not getting? Keep asking, “What would that give you that you’re not getting.” When you get to their “Core Desire” you will always see them have some kind of emotional experience. They may feel joy. They may feel tremendous peace or assurance and have total confidence that you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. They may even tear up or start to cry. They may just breathe a deep sigh signifying that, “Yes that’s what I really want”.  

Keep drilling until you hear an emotional connection to what they tell you. Then you know what you need to do to guide them and lead them. Until then you are just guessing and hoping that something you say will hit home and cause interest or you just bark orders expecting them to obey without any reason except that you said so.

Once you discover a 100 on the scale they will then automatically be motivated from within to learn and do whatever is required. A 100 on the scale is also the source of discipline and enthusiasm. It also eliminates all procrastination. 

If you are not getting the results you want in your team, (and in your life) simply acknowledge that you just didn’t want it learn how to get it badly enough.

Rudyard Kipling, Nobel Prize-winning author said it this way: “If you do not get what you want it is a sign that you did not seriously want it.” 

With this new understanding of what it really takes to achieve excellence in all aspects of leadership, you will be able to increase productivity and results. Identifying and focusing on Core Desires never fails to bring about success. That is a fact of life you can take to the bank. Excellence in leadership and in your personal life is not “out there” in some technique. It is an “inside job” and requires you to know what the people in your organization want so you can lead them to that end result.

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