With the addition of Production, leadership really begins to hit its stride. Having built a foundation of strong relationships, leaders who get results dramatically improve their team and organization. There are so many upsides to productive leadership. Here are six of them.
1. Productive Leadership Gives Credibility to the Leader
The ability to produce results has always been the line people must be able to cross to be successful. That line is also what qualifies someone for leadership. Peter Drucker, often described as the father of modern management, expressed it this way: “There are two types of people in the business community: those who produce results and those who give you reasons why they didn’t.”
Authentic leaders know the way and show the way to productivity. They take their people where they want them to go—they don’t send them there. They are more like tour guides than travel agents. They live on their performance, not their potential. They lead by example. And their ability to get results tends to silence their critics and build their reputations. People admire and usually welcome achievers who deliver the goods—who get results.
2. Productive Leadership Sets the Standard for Others
Productive leaders set an example for the people they lead, and their productivity sets the standard for the team. President Abraham Lincoln recognized this. During the American Civil War, the president relieved General John C. Frémont of his command. He said it was for this reason: “His cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself and allows no one to see him.” Lincoln knew that leaders need to be among their people, inspiring them with their abilities, letting them see what the standard should be for their performance.
Some leaders make the same mistake as some parents. They expect people to do as they say, not as they do. But here’s the problem: people do what people see. If you want dedicated, thoughtful, productive people on your team, you must embody those characteristics. Take time to list all the qualities you desire in your team members. Then compare your own personal qualities to those on the list. Wherever you desire a quality in others that you don’t possess yourself, create an action statement describing what you must“do to possess the trait you’d like to see.
3. Productive Leadership Brings Clarity and Reality to the Vision
Good leaders constantly communicate the vision of the organization. They do it clearly, creatively, and continually. But that doesn’t mean that everyone who receives the message understands and embraces it. The Production level of leadership communicates the vision through action, which helps people understand it in ways they may not have before. When followers see positive results and see goals being met, they get a clearer picture of what it means to fulfill the vision.
Productive leaders help their people see what productivity looks like. And with each day of productivity, the team gets one step closer to making the vision a reality. That encourages members of the team. It validates their efforts. It makes the vision that much clearer. And clarity is compelling. Productivity also expands the vision, because with increased confidence and skill, the people doing the work recognize that they can actually accomplish more than they may have believed was possible.
4. Productive Leadership Solves a Multitude of Problems
Many people in leadership positions try to solve problems by using systems. Or they pay others to try to solve problems for them. But the truth is, leaders cannot delegate the solving of problems to someone else. They have to be active in breaking through obstacles, putting out fires, correcting mistakes, and directing people. Leaders on the Production level do that. And once their effectiveness becomes contagious and spreads throughout the team, productivity begins to solve many problems—many more than managers or consultants ever will.
Productive organizations led by productive leaders are hard to beat. Their effectiveness is high, and so is their morale. Productivity is inspiring. People who feel good about themselves often produce good results.
5. Productive leadership Creates Momentum
When well-led organizations sustain high morale and high productivity over time, they gain momentum, which is any leader’s best friend. Momentum helps a leader do anything and everything more easily. That’s why I call it the great exaggerator. Without momentum, everything is harder to do than it should be. With it, everything is easier, and your performance is actually better than your capability should make it. For that reason I often advise leaders to spend less time trying to fix problems and more trying to create momentum.
Productive leaders understand momentum and use it to the organization’s advantage. They also understand that there are three types of people when it comes to momentum:
Momentum Makers— Producers who make things happen.
Momentum Takers—People who go along for the ride.
Momentum Breakers—People who cause problems and hurt morale.
As a leader, you need to put the majority of your time and energy into the momentum makers and place them strategically in the organization so that they make the greatest impact. Enlist their aid to help lead the momentum takers as you motivate them. Meanwhile, have candid conversations with the momentum breakers. Give them a chance to change their attitude and become productive members of the team. However, if they fail to rise up to the challenge, move them off of the team. If that is impossible, then isolate them from the rest of the team to minimize the damage they can do.
6. Productive Leadership Is the Foundation for Team Building
Who wants to leave a championship team? No one! Who wants to leave the cellar dweller? Everyone! People simply love being on a winning team. Winners attract people—some good, some bad, some average. The key to building a winning team is recognizing, selecting, and retaining the best people from the ones you attract. The good news is that you know what productivity looks like because you live it. The bad news is that having talented people on the team doesn’t automatically guarantee success. You can still lose with good players, but you cannot win without them. The difference comes from building them into a team. But remember this: if you aren’t a proven producer, you won’t attract and keep other proven producers. That’s why you need to succeed as a productive leader.