According to one recent study, almost 77% of organizations across the country are currently experiencing some type of leadership gap – one that is affecting their outcomes all day, every day, no exceptions.
This means that if these organizations were a steamship cruising through the ocean, they simply do not have the commander-in-charge that they need to both get to their destination and navigate the types of risk that they’re going to face on a regular basis in one piece.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself – “this isn’t a problem with my business. Of course, it has a leader – me. My name is on the door. I build this organization with my own two problems. We’ve got problems, sure – but this isn’t one of them.”
Not so fast.
You can call yourself a leader all you’d like, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so. Because far too many people fail to grasp (until it’s far too late) a simple truth about being an entrepreneur – a true leader doesn’t command. People aren’t going to follow directions just because you yelled at them.
The Power of Motivation
Again, the differences between a leader and a great leader may seem different, but this particular chasm is a lot deeper than you might think.
Think about it like this: every last member of your team is important. They’re all contributing one small part of a much larger whole. But to unlock the type of success you need, that whole needs to be as strong as possible.
When people come into work all day, they need to have something more to latch onto than just “I’d better get this task done because my paycheck depends on it” or “I’d better get this report turned in by noon or the boss will yell at me.”
They have to legitimately want to contribute to that larger whole and the only way you can get to that point is if you motivate them to do so.
Leaders who do little more than bark orders often find themselves with employees who are less happy and disengaged with their work, something that makes them 10% less productive than the average worker according to the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. These unhappy employees also cost American business owners about $300 billion a year collectively, so to say that this is important is a little bit of an understatement.
The Relationship Between Leadership and Marketing
It’s important to note that this relationship is also one that will carry you far in other areas of your business, too – particularly when it comes to marketing. What is the major goal of every piece of marketing collateral that you create if not to inspire?
No, you’re not inspiring someone to follow you into battle the way you would an employee – but you’re still inspiring them to take a leap of faith and purchase your product or service, not because you command them to but because you’ve made them want to do it on their own.
When you sit down with a tool like Visme (which I happen to have founded) to create a presentation, you’re doing so with the understanding that you’re making something that is more than just a traditional advertisement.
The document that you’re creating is essentially an argument – one intended to inspire passion and emotion within the reader to convince them that the step you’re asking them to take is worth the effort in the first place.
The same is true with something like an Infographic. If you were simply visualizing a product spec sheet, you’d be doing little more than presenting a commercial in a different format. The truly great Infographics – the ones that actually convince people to do what you want them to and the ones that people can’t help but share with their friends and family members – do something far deeper than that.
This mentality is even true when it comes to something like your website. Thanks to the fact that the vast majority of all consumer interactions still begin with a search engine in the modern era, your website is essentially your “opening argument” in terms of the relationship that you’re forging with members of your target audience.
It’s your first opportunity to really say “here is what we are all about and here is why what we do matters.” As a result, it’s more than just a virtual business card – or at least, it should be.
So what do you do? You use tools like this helpful website grader to make sure that your site is properly formatted and easy to find, not just for the sake of it – but because you don’t want anything to get in the way of the argument you’re trying to make, least of all usability or user experience issues.
In the End
When you make the decision to open your own business, what you’re really doing is beginning a journey. It’s one that will be filled with both successes and failures, but it’s an important one nonetheless.
But from the moment you start to bring the vision of your business into reality, you begin asking people to take this journey with you together. This extends both to the employees you bring into the fold to help you out and the customers that you are dedicating yourself to serve.
Neither party is going to take this journey with you just for the sake of it – or just because you told them to. You can call yourself a leader as much as you’d want, but actually proving that you’re someone worth following is something else entirely.
Because a true leader doesn’t command – a true leader motivates. A true leader convinces people that there is no other logical step to take other than the option you’ve given them.
If you grab hold of this essential perspective and never let go, rest assured that it is one that will carry you far – both internally as an organization and externally as the business success you’ve always wanted to be.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.