Chuck Noll, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for many years and winner of 4 Super Bowls, said,
“The mercenaries will always beat the draftees, but the volunteers will crush them both.”
Who are you leading?
This quotation comes from a military perspective, and I’m sure Coach Noll translated it to football.
I’m sure it isn’t necessary for me to translate it to business for you.
In a military sense, all three groups get paid. And the people in your organization get paid too. But there is a big difference in commitment level between the three groups and it is that difference that makes all the difference in results.
The point here is profound. We, as leaders, can, through our actions help people choose to commit at the volunteer level. The reason the volunteers win, is that they are committing more than their time and effort for 40 or 50 hours per week. They are committing themselves. When people have volunteered they have truly committed.
And the truly committed team will always be more creative, more productive, more dedicated, and more persistent – and more successful -over the long term.
Creating this type of commitment, getting people to willingly volunteer in the service of your mission and vision, requires leadership communication – to consistently share and discuss the purposes and goals, and help people connect to that.
It requires leadership influence, mostly through your actions, to show your commitment as well (After all, how much easier its it for you to be committed when you know your leader is?)
If you are thinking this discussion is somehow about leadership styles, you couldn’t be more wrong. Regardless of your leadership style, you can show your commitment through your words and actions, you can encourage commitment by the conversations and dialogue you create with your team. You can be supportive of the team and work diligently to build trust with each team member.
These are just a few of the leadership activities that will make a difference in the level of commitment people will feel and therefore give.
People want meaning in their lives, they want things to be committed to. People have a need to enroll or volunteer for purposes greater than themselves.
Perhaps our greatest opportunity as a leader is to help people find things worthy of their commitment.
Strive today to create a greater and deeper commitment for yourself and those you lead.