Leaders Want Most to Know How to Motivate Followers

Leaders Want Most to Know How to Motivate Followers

When I ask leaders, “what one skill do you want to know most?” the often repeated response is this:  “Teach me how to motivate my followers.” That’s where things get tricky.

Certainly there are motivational truths that leaders can learn and apply successfully.  In fact, I’ve dedicated an entire chapter to those motivational truths in my new book, Leaders Ought To Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership. But being able to show a person how to motivate their employees is just not that easy.  Everyone from the renown psychologist Abraham Maslow, to internationally known motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, have weighed in on what motivation is and how it can best be nurtured in the lives and work of our employees, our family members—even ourselves.

Motivation versus Manipulation

Some managers and supervisors mistakenly believe that if they get their followers to do what they want—regardless the means or methods used—their followers will be forever motivated.  Au contraire, mon ami.  (Translated:  On the contrary, my friend.  My high school French teacher would be so proud!)

Forced motivation is really plain and simple manipulation.  And the cost of manipulation can be unbelievably steep for leaders.  When followers realize they’ve been intentionally manipulated, they certainly will be forever motivated—motivated, that is, to get even with the one doing the manipulating!  And “even” means extracting punitive damages — pain and suffering – for the poor treatment received.

For Leaders Who Want Most to Know How to Motivate Followers

There’s one motivational truth that can’t be ignored or discounted. You can’t, I can’t, no one can motivate anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. Our followers’ individual wants and needs are at the very heart of true motivation.

What are some common forms of manipulation leaders mistakenly use to motivate followers? As a leader or as a follower, what has your experience been?

Join the LinkedIn Discussion Now.

Phillip Van Hooser
Leadership Expert, Keynote Speaker
Author – Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership

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Phillip Van Hooser

Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE is committed to helping organizations transform their business outcomes by building engaged employee relationships. He is an award-winning keynote speaker and author on engaged leadership and communication. His most recent book is “Earning The Right To Be Heard," a primer for creating greater influence and opportunities. Connect with Phil on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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