Positive Leadership

9 Powers of Positive Leadership - Lesson 4: Learning to Build with Others

February 21, 2024 Jean-Philippe Courtois
Positive Leadership
9 Powers of Positive Leadership - Lesson 4: Learning to Build with Others
Show Notes Transcript

As a leader, understanding your influence enables you to nurture a sense of community and motivate others to achieve their full potential.

In Lesson 4 of the ‘9 Powers of Positive Leadership,’ JP gathers three simple techniques to help you to motivate others and nurture meaningful connections.

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JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: As leaders, recognizing the power of our influence, we can build a sense of community, inspiring and empowering other people to do more, to become more. And it is this ripple effect that makes positive leadership so powerful. Building with others takes skill and understanding is three things you can do today to help you develop their strengths. The first is write down your own life story. 


JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ: We say tell the stories that matter. They can be long stories. They are almost always full of some level of pain, failure, disillusionment. How does that flow come in to the person who you are? 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen, a nonprofit capital fund which invests in ventures and leaders, more than 1600 of them over the years. Each of them works through an exercise called “The River of Life”. 


JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ: So to do The River of Life. Take a piece of paper and literally draw a river. It could just be one line. Or you could do two lines, or you might be an artist. And at the different curves, at the bends in the river, write down what happened. And how did that moment shift the current and the course of the river. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: You can move large numbers of people to action by exchanging personal stories that help build a sense of connection around shared values and shared experiences. Be real. Always. It's tempting to present the best feel to a version of ourselves, but by being vulnerable is the only way to connect truly with others. 


JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ: We all see ourselves in each other's stories, often in each other's suffering, and therefore why we do the work we do. It is one of the great privileges of my life to sit in a room where people are sharing their stories in that way, because the only way we reimagine systems for a world that needs to heal is if we indeed see each other and the one story we can create together, which is our story of shared humanity. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Building with others is also about on-on-one relationships. How do we feel about working with each other? So, the second thing you should do right now is to establish a culture of trust. 


STEPHEN M.R. COVEY: Do I give to my team, to my colleagues, to my family, to my neighborhood, to those I interact with? Do I give to them a person who they can trust? Is it smart to trust me? 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Giving others a person that they can trust is fundamental. If you want to get your team to bring their very best selves to the table. So how do you build trust? One person, one team at a time. 


STEPHEN M.R. COVEY: It's interesting that the fastest way to build trust with another person is to make a personal commitment, and then to keep it, yes, and make another commitment and to keep it and to repeat that process. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Stephen M.R. Covey, author of Trust and Inspire. 


STEPHEN M.R. COVEY: And sometimes we don't keep a commitment to our self with the same respect as making a commitment to somebody else. If you as a leader, first focus on being trustworthy, and that's your character, your competence, you'll be a model. The second focus on being trusting, and I think that is the essence of great leadership, is that we extend that trust to others. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: As Steven says, when you trust, people want to deliver for you, and when you inspire people, they want to contribute with you. You can be that leader. Trust is key. 
 The third thing you can do today to help be with others better, is to learn how to celebrate with others using a technique called active constructive responding. Dr Martin Seligman, is Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He's taught this technique to all kinds of people, from CEOs to generals in the U.S. Army. 


DR. MARTIN SELIGMAN: Mandy, my wife, is an amateur black and white photographer. A few years ago, she came downstairs and said, Marty, the editor of Black and White, just called me. I've won first prize in black and white. What do you say to her? Well, congratulations. Wonderful. That doesn't do anything that's passive constructive. It has no effect on our relationship. It's wallpaper. And there's passive destructive, which is what's for dinner. Yeah. The only thing that works is active constructive, in active constructive. When someone comes to you with a victory, you want to put them in touch with it. I said many was it the black and white picture of the swan that is the best black and white picture of a bird I've ever seen. Mandy, where were you when the editor called you? So, she told me now, verbatim. What did he say? Mandy relived the experience. And then Mandy, that bottle of Dom Perignon that's been sitting for ten years in the refrigerator. Let's open it up and celebrate. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Active constructing responding is a great technique you can use at home or at work to put people in touch with their strengths and their victories. Three simple ways to help you build with others and achieve your goals together. 
 I'm Jean-Philippe Courtois if you'd like to hear more from any of the people featured in this lesson, head to the archive for their full-length program. And if you have enjoyed this lesson, please take a moment to leave us a comment or rating because it really means a lot. And why not share it with a friend?