How to lead people

by Pavol Gurbal on November 10, 2019 No comments

Few notes, which I got from the trainings I had in one of my former jobs. It was about the way on how to lead people.

Generic principle is displayed in following table:

WantsDoesn’t want
Doesn’t knowCommandConvince

The table is describing situations, in which we often find ourselves, where we need to deal with certain person (or group of people). This person either knows/doesn’t know to do this thing, or wants/doesn’t want to do it. Based on this knows/wants status, different strategy shall be used in order to work this person.


Simplest case – your partner (colleague, employee, friend …) – wants to do this thing and has all the skills necessary.

In this case it is simplest to just delegate the entire effort on this person.

Everything else is just unnecessary waste of effort.

Knows/Doesn’t want

In this case the person is able to fulfill this particular task, but for some reason is not willing to do it. Either he is not satisfied with the result, or with the thing itself, or whatever else.

The smartest thing to do in this case is to involve this person to it.

Ask for his/hers opinion and seriously listen what they are saying, or ask him to do just small portion of the entire thing – when he will see the results, or during the work he will see, that his doubts are gone, he might end up in the Knows/Wants category

Doesn’t know/Wants

This time the person is willing to do the job, he is just lacking necessary information or skills.

You will help him, when you will command him.

By commanding I mean giving him more precise instructions on how to proceed, how to do this thing. Depending on the person’s skills, those command might be pretty detailed – but as the time will pass and the person will get the necessary skills, also the commands won’t need to be that detailed.

Doesn’t know/Doesn’t want

Hardest case, but also not uncommon. In this case it leaves you with single option – you need to convince this person/people.

Either by involving them in part of this endeavor, with which they do agree, or by providing more details, more data (when it is quantifiable, hard numbers and some analysis do help in such cases).

Some incentives are necessary in this case – either by satisfaction of seeing some results, or by realization, that this thing needs to be done, because something external is convincing enough, so they see it.

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Pavol GurbalHow to lead people