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The power of choice and how to lead people to make good ones

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As an author and advisor in the fields of human performance and leadership, Karen Gately brings a fresh perspective to what it takes to be a successful people manager. She discusses how we all have the power to influence how things turn out by deliberately making the choices we need to in each moment of each day.

How we choose to think, feel and behave determines the reality we ultimately create. Influencing the choices other people make is among the most important way that as leaders we can enable success. It is every people manager’s role to guide and support their staff to understand and act upon the choices they need to make.

1. Lead by example

Showcase through your own approach what is both desirable and possible. Demonstrate the power we all have to influence our success through the choices we make. Both your actions and your words matter when it comes to inspiring people to step up and own the outcomes they create. Allow people to see the thoughts and feelings that influence the way you choose to behave.

2. Inspire ownership

Talk to people about the power they have to create the work life they want by making important choices. Help them understand that every choice they make impacts the circumstances they find themselves in. Encourage and inspire people to take ownership for their own success, as well as that of the people around them.

3. Challenge limiting beliefs

Observe the way people behave and talk to them about the beliefs and motivations behind their actions. Recognise when the beliefs people hold about themselves, others and their circumstances are holding them back from making the choices they need to. Challenge these beliefs and give people evidence of why they should think, feel or behave differently.

4. Deliver tough love

Be completely upfront and honest while delivering feedback with compassion and sensitivity. While the truth matters, so too does nurturing the spirit and confidence of the individual we are trying to help. Adopt a respectful approach that allows people to hear and take on board the advice you give.

5. Hold people accountable

Reward and recognise people for behaving in ways that have a positive influence. Hold them accountable for behaviours that undermine their own success or that of their team. Expect and require that people take steps to make more effective choices when necessary.

6. Educate your team

Develop understanding and influence each person’s desire to thrive by sharing wisdom and insight. Encourage people to read or listen to other people who have made the right choices in life. Facilitate conversations with your team about the choices you individually and collectively need to make to achieve your team’s vision and objectives. Share lessons learnt and invite people from outside your organisation to share their knowledge of the choices most likely to enable success.

Every choice we make in every moment of every day about how we feel, what we think and ultimately how we behave determines the reality we create. While each choice may on its own not seem to matter all that much, the cumulative effect of the decisions we make is clearly evident. Coaching the people on your team to make wise choices can have a profound impact on their success not only at work, but in all areas of their lives.

Building trust with your staff is essential to helping them make good decisions. Learn more about how to build trust with employees.

Karen Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Getting the Best from People (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving Extraordinary Results through Spirited People. For more information visit www.karengately.com.au or contact info@ryangately.com.au

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