“The leader’s style pulls ... (and) a pull style of influence works by attracting and energizing people to an exciting vision of the future. It motivates by identification, rather than through rewards and punishments.”
- Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus 

In the non-profit world where financial rewards can be hard to find, leadership that motivates by identification is often the only practical option. That is to say, staff comes to deeply identify with the organization’s mission and vision.

And make no mistake: It’s important, too, in for-profit organizations. 

Of course, that requires that the organization have a vision which pulls people to achieve the organization’s mission. 

But a vision by itself is not enough.

To achieve identification, leaders have to “empower” their staffs to pursue the vision. The word is overused, but the concept is essential to effective organizational performance — especially in the complex, highly-volatile and uncertain environments in which we all operate today. 

In their book Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Bennis and Nanus outline the four factors that lead to empowerment. 

  • Significance -- provide a vision that shows people the importance of their contributions to your organization and to the larger world. Don’t just talk in general terms. Connect each and every person’s work to your vision.
  • Competence -- make sure your people keep learning and developing their skills. You may lose them, but that’s better than keeping them without competence. 
  • Community -- they don’t have to like each other, but they do have to have a sense of how they rely on one another to achieve a common purpose. 
  • Enjoyment -- find ways to make it and keep it fun no matter what the circumstances.

Keep those four markers in mind and you and your team will be far more effective than it has ever been before.

Owen Phelps, Ph.D.
Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute

Copyright © 2012 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there is full attribution, our web site is listed, and any electronic reproduction includes a link to our site:

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