My leadership journey started at a very young age. My parents put me into Air Cadets¬†when I was in my early teens. There wasn’t a lot of activities in Renfrew, so it was something to do. It was pretty cool going up in gliders, small planes and a tactical helicopter at CFB Petawawa.

One year I was nominated for the junior leadership training program in Jonquiere, Quebec. I recall it being an interesting experience with other cadets from across Ontario. One quote that has stuck with since has been the one in the image above by the former American President and army general Dwight D. Eisenhower.

A few years later my interest changed and I retired from the cadets as a flight sergeant, but the lessons I learned have stuck with me. Since that time I have been a leader – formal and in formal.

So how do I get people to do things for me, because I want to?

I build strong relationships. That means getting to know people as individuals – from the clerk in the mailroom to the leader of the organization. I listen to them to get an understanding of who they are and what motivates them. It also means respecting their unique perspective and value their opinions, and knowing that I don’t have to agree with them.

Connect them with the bigger picture. As a communications leader I make sure that my team connects their work to the strategic objectives of our organization. You can have the most creative and innovative communications strategies, but if they are not tied to solid business objectives they are not going to be effective. I also make sure that they know how their work fits into not just our team, but our branch, ministry and government as a whole.

Show passion for the work and stay optimistic. If you look at what is happening in the world today, it would be pretty easy to get cynical. Leading an issues shop, my current team bombarded non-stop by difficult situations. But that but that is why we are there, to welcome the unwelcome and propose solutions. I find it helpful to reframe these challenges as opportunities. Not in a pollyanna way, but putting the focus on the work we do to help people every way.

What tips do you have to get people to do things for you, because the want to?