One of the books I have come across this week is ‘The Art of Good Leadership’ by Katsuhiko Eguchi. He spent most of his working life (twenty-two years) by being close to Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic as well as The PHP Institute and considered to have been one of the greatest managers in Japan. Matsushita taught Eguchi the principles that contribute to success. Eguchi in his book tries to isolate the lessons he learnt together with the qualities that make a good leader.
Within the context of ‘Inspiring and Motivating Staff’ the author writes about the importance of encouraging enthusiasm.
Success is the last stage of a multistep process. To begin with, you must have the desire, for everything starts from the wish to achieve a goal. The next step is to transform that desire into a specific goal. Then comes the commitment, or the decision, to achieve that goal. After commitment comes implementation. Once you are in the implementation phase, then persistence becomes crucial…The ingredient that is absolutely essential for seeing the process through to the very end is enthusiasm – the enthusiasm to make your dream a reality. You can only have the necessary persistence to reach your goal if you have enthusiasm. Whether dreams are fulfilled or whether they remain as dreams depends on one factor alone – enthusiasm”.
Eguchi suggests managers to pay closest attention to their staff’ enthusiasm. With that he encourages to praise people for their commitment, diligence and persistence – and not just for getting the result. He believes that if a manager praises the whole process – the dedication and enthusiasm that led to the result – it is more likely that he or she will enhance a sense of pride and satisfaction in his/her people and with that a desire to do better in the future.
However, firstly, the manager himself/herself needs to have enthusiasm for his/her work. In fact, it takes time to keep encouraging someone without getting immediate results. Eguchi writes how Matsushita, as his manager, was able to “wait calmly and patiently for the results to come in their own time”. This requires tremendous energy which can come only from the enthusiasm and commitment of the manager. “A manager who lacks enthusiasm will not be able to evaluate the enthusiasm of his team, nor can he encourage members to become enthusiastic”.