There are some many words of wisdom attributed to Martin Luther King Jr, and every year in January as the world celebrates his leadership and legacy, we are reminded of some of the many useful gems he left us with. One of my favorite quotes from him says "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." Wow! There is so much to learn about leadership in that single statement. The words that may initially stand out to some are "genuine" or "leader" or "consensus". But the word that I find the most important in that phrase is "molder". It is the verb that provides all of the instruction needed and describes what is important in how to "act" and become a leader, how to get people to work together to achieve something better. The instruction is simple. You lead effectively not by seeking agreement, but rather by molding it.
Molding consensus is about spearheading and shaping an alignment of thought and purpose within a group of people. It's about creating a space that allows ideas, creativity, and communication to take place in order to come to decisions and move forward. To mold something is to shape or form it into something different than it already is. In order to lead effectively, you must create an environment that allows agreement and consensus to be met to form something new; something improved. This can happen in many ways, but here is a quick tip to help on your leadership journey. Just remember "MOLD". (Motivate. Outline. Listen. Demonstrate.)
M is for Motivation. Motivation is the act of giving a person a reason or desire to do something. You must set the stage and be encouraging of reaching an aligned solution. O is for Outline. An outline is the framework that provides a general and transparent description of a plan but leaves out the details. Providing the general direction but leaving the details open allows for creative solutions with a shared focus. L is for Listen. Listening and being attentive to varied insights and multiple perspectives creates an inclusive space where employees and teams can more easily reach agreement. And lastly, D is for Demonstrate. Demonstrate is simply showing others how it's done. Your job as a leader is to lead by example and demonstrate that reaching consensus requires honesty, input, and both individual and team effort for success. So the next time you are seeking to gain alignment within your team, department, business, remembers Dr. King's advice. Create an environment with a unified purpose and Become a Molder.
About Courtney D. Temple
Courtney is a successful blogger and executive leader. She is a multi-industry Human Capital executive with extensive global and regional experience having served in various roles within large and small organizations. She has successfully driven enterprise-wide initiatives and is continuing to learn and grow with each new opportunity. Her blog: Goals, Gaps, and Growth shares some tips and tricks she's learned along the way.