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Great Leaders Share Why as They Share What

I have learned a secret to getting better results as a leader. It’s huge. When I interviewed Zig Ziglar years ago, he repeated this principle to me over and over during our conversation. It’s paramount to getting buy-in from people and helping them feel a part of a team, project, or organization.

  • When you are leading people
  • When you are introducing change
  • When you want people to follow
  • When you want people to own the vision
  • When you want to build or maintain momentum
  • When you are experiencing growth
  • When you are experiencing decline

Don’t bother with the what. It simply doesn’t matter much. No one cares.

Unless you share the why.

People won’t hear the what as well unless they know the why.

In fact, when you share the what without sharing the why:

  • There will be unnecessary resistance
  • People have separate agendas
  • Misunderstandings become common
  • The vision is clouded
  • Motivation is absent
  • The leader stands alone
  • Progress stalls

Paint the why – as you share the what.

It makes all the difference.

Be honest, are you less likely to want to do the what if you don’t know the why?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Kari Scare

    I have to know my "why" or I fail almost every time. Why do I want to be healthy? Why do I want to write? Why do I want to make time for my spouse and kids? I'm constantly asking myself "Why?" But, I also know that my why has to be right too. If my "why" is selfish, then I usually end up somewhere off track. So, I pray that my intentions are in line with God's will. I pray that the "why" comes from Him only.

  • Bryan K

    In retail MGMNT, I have worked for people that were offended by the notion that they should have to say “why”, we should have been willing to follow without it! When I got into managment myself, I found out people were much more likely to do what I asked, for the simple reason they had a better understanding of what that was. By explaining the “why” the picture became clearer,full. I find myself in the same frame of mind: if I don’t know why I’m doing something, I am less motivated. I am goal oriented, if I know where and why, I can do so much more and with less “hand holding”.