Building Community Through Better Relationships

I Need Your Contribution!


A charismatic leader purposefully walks among a group of subordinates, then sternly declares to them all, “I need your contribution!” Leaders often ask for someone’s contribution when what they really mean is “work harder and get done what I want accomplished”. In a classroom setting, “I need your contribution” means that a student needs to add to the discussion or solution. In both cases, an authority figure wants to extract more effort for better results. But, what if the statement implied a sincere desire for the leader to get a personalized contribution for the follower’s benefit?

In a certain group setting, Meagan wanted to contribute badly. The results-focused leader seized the opportunity to allow Meagan to demonstrate her expertise. She performed the required task with excellence! Unfortunately, her contribution only marginally contributed to the group’s efforts. The leader still needed better results. He needed the entire group to contribute. As it turns out, Meagan’s contribution empowered her peers to perform more enthusiastically. They added unique skills and solutions to the group’s challenges. They innovated, they collaborated, and they shared in the group’s progress. And, eventually they all added their piece to the group’s success.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~Lao-Tzu. Typically, “I need your contribution” exposes an authority figure as condescending. When presented in a progressive tone, the same sentence empowers a team to bring individual talents for their communal benefit. Optimally, “I need your contribution” means that each person claims their purpose. Everyone must perform their purpose for everyone to benefit. A title does not reflect expertise. However, it does reflect responsibility. Leaders are responsible for results. The wise ones take full advantage of every resource to achieve them.

Leaders don’t need to make their teams better. Leaders need them to be better. To encourage teams to want high performance, the motivation must first come from within each team member. Groups that are empowered with skills (training) and encouraged to contribute for their own communal benefit (purpose) will be much more effective than any leader using a carrot, stick, or other incentive. Effective leaders need their Meagan’s contribution in order to generate the results that the whole group expects and deserves. Essentially, they need Meagan’s courage so that everyone else will contribute and exponentially raise the collective bar. Then, everyone benefits.

Reflect on your organizations, teams, and groups. What are you truly trying to accomplish? Does each individual member feel the need to contribute? Is the leader really willing to accept the group’s contributions? Confident leaders “need your contribution” for both their individual and all contributors’ benefit. An effective leader’s objective is delivering results, not hoarding accolades. Share the accolades, earn the results. Remember to say thank you!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal Of Hunter & Beyond
Thank You MM!


April 13, 2015 - Posted by | Better Business, Better Community | , , , ,

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