How do you grow as a leader where more of your ‘results’ come through others, rather than the work you do? Specifically, how do you lead people versus supervise or manage. (I framed some of the personal challenges of going from doing the work,to leading others in the post: The Entrepreneurial Journey to Leadership.)

I had the chance to spend a day with Jeff Silverman, who is a leadership coach. Jeff has been the CEO of a national fitness company and a Divisional VP at YUM Brands/Pizza Hut. He also was a consultant at Bain & Co and MBA from Harvard Business School. It was in his 20 years+ of leading, particularly at YUM Brands that he developed a very simple concept called Leading for Results. There is ‘Macro Leadership’ (at an organizational or team level) and Micro Leadership (leading 1-on-1). Here’s the concept of the Micro Leadership:

Motivation + Ability = Capability

In order to lead a person, you first must understand their Motivation and Ability on a per project basis. Knowing this will help you appropriately lead them in a way that best serves them and sets them up for success.

Motivation: Awareness, Desire & Willingness
Ability: Aptitude, Training, Experience & Resources

Once you know these things, you can appropriately lead a person in the way that will get the best results. Here are the different styles of leadership based on a person’s motivation and ability:

What I’ve found is often my default style/desire is to delegate things, but when they didn’t work out I moved into a more directive style. If someone is motivated, there is probably nothing more frustrating then being ‘micro-managed’ with this type of directive style. So with people who have a high motivation, but maybe low ability in an area because of lack of experience, coming alongside in a supportive role works best. Or if someone has the ability but has a low motivation because of awareness, helping facilitate would serve things much better.

As an example of this, Jeff shared a story of knowing that several gym franchisees were getting low scores on the cleanliness. Instead of just telling them the problem, he picked them up in a van and took them to competitors sites, asking them to score their view of how clean the location was. It was easy to spot all the problems. At the end of the day, Jeff took them to their own locations. Quickly they became greatly aware of how messy their gym was without Jeff having to say a thing. Subsequently, each manager took to great lengths to improve the gym in this way. All this happened without Jeff having to say a thing. Jeff said if you were unclear of the person’s motivation and ability, facilitation is always the best place to start. At the end of the day, the goal is for greater clarity and clearer leadership that leads to better results.

I hope this simple but powerful approach is helpful for you.