Here is the question most often asked by leaders: “How do I get my people to do what they are supposed to do?” In other words, most leaders are interested in how they can move people. Leaders are constantly seeking ways to motivate their employees to do take the right actions, for the right reasons, at the right time.

It would easy to write a dissertation on the mechanics of getting people to do what they are supposed to do. Yet this would ignore the most fundamental, and important, aspect of leading people—developing, nurturing, and leveraging the interpersonal relationship between leader and follower. .

The fact is people work for you. Not for your company. Not slogans. Not commission checks or bonuses. Not stock options, fancy trips, spiffs, elaborate national meetings, or perks. It is your ability as a leader to get your people to believe in you and trust you that plays the most powerful role in getting them to accept your coaching, praise, discipline, direction and vision.

You start by putting your people first. Putting people first means placing their needs and goals before your own. This opens the door to building an emotional connection because the people working for you believe you have their best interest at heart. The more connected your people feel to you, the more comfortable they feel sharing information that reveals their problems and issues, which opens them up to accepting your coaching and direction. With an emotional connection in place, you have the leverage to move your people into position to win (professionally and personally). People are extremely loyal to leaders who help them get what they want, and when your people are winning, you win because you get paid for their results. However, even though your people might feel good emotionally about following you, they are still looking for a foundation of logic on which to back up these feelings. Because of this you must take careful steps to build trust through your actions. Finally you reinforce positive behaviors and anchor their emotional connection and trust in you with positive emotional experiences.

Put People First. The leader’s primary purpose for being is helping the people they lead achieve their goals. Subjugating your own needs and desires for those of your people is the first and most important step in influencing people to follow you.

Connect. Like all interpersonal relationships, connections bind people together on an emotional level. Great leaders drop the pretense of power and position, and instead focus on building sincere emotional connections with their people. Connecting tears down walls that tend to get in the way of real communication and understanding. When people feel connected with you, they feel more comfortable telling you their real problems, roadblocks, and issues. With this information in hand, you have the opportunity to solve problems that really matter. This provides real value for your people and engenders true loyalty. Most important, when your people feel connected to you, they will be willing to accept your training, coaching, feedback, direction, and vision, which is critical to getting them in position to win. Strong connections are hard to break and are the foundation of truly prosperous, long-term relationships built on mutual trust.

Position Your People to Win. The most important leadership principle is that as a leader you get paid for what your people do, not what you do. As a leader, you maximize your performance by constantly and consistently focusing your attention on getting your people in position to win. This means doing whatever it takes to help your people get better through training, observation, and coaching; ensuring that people are in positions that best leverage their talents; removing roadblocks and solving problems; developing the right strategy to achieve your business targets; and developing a vision and direction your people can understand and execute. It also means learning what your people want to achieve professionally and personally, and playing a role in helping them realize those goals.

Build Trust. Trust is the glue that holds relationships together and the foundation on which all long-term relationships rest. Trust is developed with tangible evidence that you do what you say you will do, that you keep promises, and that your behavior as a leader is professional and consistent.

Create Positive Emotional Experiences. Just as an anchor is used to hold a ship in place against currents, wind, tide, and storm, positive emotional experiences do the same for relationships. Positive emotional experiences anchor your relationships with your people. They motivate your people to give you their best and engender intense loyalty. Loyalty is powerful because loyal people are willing to follow you anywhere and will always have your back when the going gets tough.

Author's Bio: 

Jeb Blount is a leading expert on leadership and human behavior. He helps companies, teams, and individuals transform their organizations and accelerate performance through intense focus on interpersonal relationships. He is the author of five books including People Follow You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Leadership, People Buy You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business, Sales Guy’s 7 Rules for Outselling the Recession, Business Expert’s Guide to Small Business Success and Power Principles. To learn more call 706-664-0810 x102 or email