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Run a WOW Campaign

Run a WOW Campaign

How do you introduce new ideas in your organization, and secure buy-in? How can you introduce positive, catalytic change, and get everyone excited and inspired?

It always starts with clarity first and foremost, in that you explain the idea or change you are introducing succinctly. You answer those W’s — What is it, Why are we doing it, Who is the “We” involved, Where and When is it going to happen. Finally, you tackle the big H; how?

However clarity is not always enough. Sometimes we have an idea or change concept which quite frankly, is not that exciting. If we want it to kick in, and truly get us the buy-in we are hoping for, we need to inspire. We need a WOW Campaign. Can you design and run one?

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Here a few things to think about in designing and running a campaign:

—Get goofy, be fearless, and take some chances. Risk-taking stimulates energy and sharpens our focus; our awareness of land mines is heightened when we are firing on all cylinders. WOW Campaigns are not for the meek and timid.

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—Assault the senses. It is always very effective to choose a strong visual image which is associated with your idea or change concept. When it is seen, it instantly conveys a strong and clear message. Consider the other senses of hearing, touch, taste, and scent, and decide if there are complimentary connections which will reinforce the visual message: perhaps you will choose a song, or slogan which will attach sound to your image. Use these triggers as consistently and pervasively as you can.

—Make it personal for people. You have to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” for everyone you expect to support your initiative. If they invest their time and energy, what will be their return? You cannot assume they will perceive the same benefits that you do.

—Create buzz. Think about how you can get people talking. Can you tell a compelling story, which others delight in repeating? Start conversations which create a sense of sweet anticipation or wild speculation about “what if…?”

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—Don’t leave your buzz to chance: Recruit cheerleaders and champions, and make it very rewarding to be one. You want to be sure that those who are the most vocal about your idea or change concept are not the Doubting Thomas’s and Gloomy Gus’s of the world. If there’s going to be talk, you want positive talk and good buzz. You want optimism and enthusiasm.

—Open doors for others to get involved so it is about “We,” “Us,” and “Our.” Invite as much ownership as possible by asking for help: People love to feel needed and valued, and they love the feeling that they are “in the know” and the insiders driving a big idea. When it succeeds, they want to be able to say, “We did it.”

—Repeat, repeat, repeat. We are living in a world where we are bombarded with a slew of competing messages each day, all vying for our precious attention, and we only have so much attention to give. The age-old counsel of “tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em, then tell ‘em, and then tell ‘em what you just told ‘em” is still very sage advice.

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—Bring joy, make it fun and get people to laugh. Play! Joy, fun and laughter open us up. When we are engaged in play and having fun we are more open-minded and willing to do more with others. With change in particular, fun creates an excitement which replaces anxiety and insecurity.

—Catch people doing it right, and be generous in giving credit where credit is due. Recognize that your idea or change concept takes consistency and unity to be inculcated in your organizational culture, and that will involve a lot of people. Acknowledge any hurdles which have been overcome, recognize and reward, celebrate achievements loudly and publicly, and say thank you — a lot.

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: The Most Underutilized Tool for Effective Communication.

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Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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