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In Leadership, The Critical Convergence Drives Great Results

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Today a reader, tomorrow, a leader. - Margaret Fuller


The Leader's Fallacy lives! We subscribe to Fallacy when we believe our enthusiasm for a particular leadership challenge is automatically reciprocated by the people we lead. 

If ignorance is bliss, leaders who blindly adhere to the Leader's Fallacy have cornered the market on happiness.

It is more realistic to believe in INVERSE RECIPROCITY: i.e., whatever motivates you "DE-motivates" the people.

That is especially so for leaders trying to motivate people to meet extraordinary challenges. 

You will never know how good you are as a leader unless you motivate others to be better than they think. You will inevitably get angry with at least some people in that endeavor. 

Most people are settled into a comfortable status quo and resent being challenged to break out. 

But if you aim to lead people to impressive results, they not only have to be pushed but, more importantly, must be challenged to push themselves. 

They will only push themselves to do extraordinary things for you when they share your enthusiasm. That sharing is called critical convergence, joining your spirits and theirs, so they are as enthusiastic as you about meeting the challenges you face. Until a crucial convergence happens, you cannot get impressive results consistently. 

I do not think the critical convergence will happen automatically. It would help if you worked hard to achieve it. 

It would help if you were motivated about those challenges. If you are not motivated, you should not be leading. But your motivation is irrelevant simply because it is a given. 

Here is what is relevant: Can you transfer your motivation to the people who are as motivated as you are? And can you translate their motivation into action that achieves results? 

Everyone has significant needs that shape their thinking and their actions day in and day out. If you want those people to take ardent action for you, you must supply solutions to the problems of those needs, so the effort you have them take brings them closer to realizing those solutions.

The critical convergence is not "win/win."  It is much more profound and richer. Unlike "win/win," the critical junction is an ongoing relationship process from which mutually beneficial expectations and solutions flow.

Here are three steps to help make a critical convergence happen. 

(1) Understand their needs.

(2) Turn their needs into problems.

(3) Have their commitment to your cause be a solution to their problems.

We must embrace the best in people to get the best out of them. Recall the Leader's Fallacy whenever you need to lead people to tackle significant challenges. Do not be taken in by it. Know that their commitment to your cause does not come automatically. You must earn it by embracing the best of who you are. Take the trouble to build a critical convergence. You will see a significant jump in results.

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