Leadership Key

Leadership Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Leadership would be easy if it weren’t for those we lead. As anyone in a leadership position knows, getting people to actually want to do the tasks you need them to do can be a challenge. Without their motivation to want the same goals and objectives as you have, people will not fully commit to what you want. So what does a leader do?

Unfortunately, many managers and leaders rely on external motivators to get people to do things. For example, using rewards as enticements and threats of punishment are approaches aimed at obtaining obedience and compliance. They overpower, rather than empower. Telling people what to do and then rewarding them if they do as expected, or threatening them if they do not, increases stress while diminishing professional relationships.

Since these management approaches are manipulative, the results are never as effective as cultivating in the employee the thought process of internal motivation. Manipulative approaches are something you do to another person and have little long-lasting effects. This is in contrast to working with a person to empower the person.

Whenever you impose something on someone, it only produces short-term results because the person doesn’t have any ownership in it. Think about it: If these external motivational approaches were effective, getting employees motivated to carry out the company’s objectives would be easy, not something managers read countless books about.

The irony of manipulating behavior is that the more you use it in an attempt to control people, the less real influence you have. Although managers want to remain in control, the paradox is that the more you empower others, the more effective you become. In addition, if people only do things because they are forced to, not because they want to, then you haven’t really succeeded as a leader. Truly effective leaders know how to trigger internal motivation for commitment that has people want to carry out objectives without the lure of a reward or the fear of threat.

To learn how, link to Dr. Marvin Marshall