Three Ways to Turn Your Audience from Followers into Leaders
“The problem with specifying the method along with the goal is one of diminished control. Provide your people with the objective and let them figure out the method.”― L. David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
I was perusing the business section of my local bookstore the other day. I came across a book entitled, Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by U. S. Navy CAPTAIN (Ret) L. David Marquet.
The book chronicles the leadership journey of CAPTAIN Marquet as a crew member and commander aboard nuclear submarines.
Marquet learned that the Navy was entrenched in the “Leader-Follower” mindset when it came to leading. In this mindset, the leader gives the orders, and the followers obey them.
The Leader-Follower leadership model was a good model when the U.S. was primarily a manufacturing country. However, with the dawn of personal computers, mind work, and the Internet, the “Leader-Follower” model of leadership is fatally flawed, costing companies millions due to its discouragement of individual initiative.
The rest of the story is how Marquet empowered his crew to be leaders using the “Leader – Leader” leadership model while he was the skipper of the U.S.S. Santa Fe nuclear-powered attack submarine from 1999 – 2001. The “Leader – Leader” leadership model encourages the people appointed under you to take personal initiative. Give them the goal. Let them figure out the method.
As I was pondering this “Leader – Leader” leadership model and how it fosters personal initiative, I thought there is a direct correlation to you as a speaker (leader) and your audience (usually followers). Would you be more effective as a speaker if you encouraged your audience to be leaders of their destiny?
Below are three ways you can foster leadership in your audience.
Educate, Don’t Train
According to The Peak Performance Center website:
Education is the acquisition of knowledge through a process of receiving or giving instruction. My interpretation of education is it teaches you how to think critically and know how to gain more pertinent information after the actual classroom education has finished.
Training is the action of teaching or learning a skill or behavior. My interpretation of training is after the instruction, and, if you practice, you will become very good at the skill the training taught you, but it will not allow you to learn a different skill as education would
When you train your audience on a particular skill, they will perform the skill well with a good deal of practice for only that skill.
When you educate your audience in a particular area, you teach them to think independently and educate themselves in that area further. The keywords here are educate themselves.
When you educate your audience, you show them how to apply the knowledge you gave them to their own personal and professional lives. You make them responsible for their implementation of your knowledge. You inspire them to be the leader of their future. If you do this, you are following the “Leader – Leader” leadership model.
All human progress is due to people experimenting, not being satisfied with the status quo, and having a vision of a better future.
Educating instead of training your audience will always give your audience a better return on the investment of their time and money.
You can lead your audience to a new idea, but it will remain just that, an idea until that idea inspires your audience.
Inspire Personal Initiative in Your Audience
One of your primary purposes in you speaking before an audience is to inspire them to take responsibility to use the information in your presentation to better their lives and the lives of others. In other words, encourage them to think and act powerfully!
As a speaker, you are an “artist,” painting a picture in the minds of the audience members of what their future could be.
The world is full of naysayers: “I can’t do that.” “You just don’t have the talent to accomplish that.” “If you try that, you will just be disappointed.”
If Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, and Henry Ford thought this way, you would still be sending telegrams, dreaming of what it would be like to fly to distant lands, and sitting behind two horses in our carriages.
These people saw the vision, showed people how that vision could become a reality, and, most importantly, inspired others to make their dreams a reality.
When Walt Disney had an idea, he would pitch it to ten people. If every one of the ten people said the idea would not work, he would immediately start working on the concept. No one has ever accused Walt Disney of having a lack of ideas.
Encourage, motivate, and inspire your audience to become the leaders of their future. Brian Tracy, the self-development expert, says, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”
Use the “Leader – Leader” leadership philosophy to inspire your audience.
So, you have educated and inspired your audience, but nothing will happen for them until you have given them explicit ways to implement your ideas.
Use a Call to Action
There is nothing more frustrating to me when, after an excellent presentation, I ask myself, “How can I use this great information to better my personal and professional lives.”
You can lead your audience to new ideas, you can inspire them to make these ideas their own, but if you do not give them options on implementing the ideas, your purpose as a speaker will be unfulfilled.
At the end of all my presentations, I have a Call to Action slide. In that slide, I give my audience specific actions they can take as soon as they walk out the door. You must have a Call to Action slide in every presentation you give from now on.
You may not realize the power you have as a speaker. When you give your audience a call to action, the vast majority of your audience will do one or more of your Call to Action steps. Believe it or not.
Use the “Leader – Leader” leadership model when you speak to arouse in your audience a burning desire to take action.
Use the “Leader – Leader” leadership model to educate, inspire, and spur your audience to take action on your ideas.
Without action, there is no reality!
Call to Action
Educate your audience instead of training them to open them up to the rewards in their personal and professional lives
Seek to inspire your audience instead of just conveying information
Give your audience a powerful call to action to implement your ideas
“Focusing on avoiding mistakes takes our focus away from becoming truly exceptional. Once a ship has achieved success merely in the form of preventing major errors and is operating in a competent way, mission accomplished, there is no need to strive further.”― L. David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
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