Team and Leadership Building

Leadership Blog

Scott Kress is an accomplished mountaineer, MBA Professor, Keynote Speaker and President of both Summit Training and Frontier Team Building. Scott and his team share their insights on leadership and teamwork on this blog.

The "Big 8": Motivating Others

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The fourth of the “Big 8” leadership competencies (Korn/Ferry Lominger) we’re exploring in this series is motivating others.

Once again, Dan Pink had tackled this topic in his book “Drive”. What motivates (and what does not motivate) others will surprise you. Marcus Buckingham also sheds light on this topic in his eye-opening book “First Break All the Rules”.

Motivating others is complex and challenging. Some of us are more naturally gifted at it than others, but it is a deliberate skill and we can all learn to be better at it.

Some of us feel that, just because we are self motivated, others will be as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Leaders must build strong relationships with their team members and they must know how to motivate and inspire them.

Motivation is the use of external rewards to get a job started and completed. It is, in its simplest form, the “carrot and the stick”. Research has indicated that this carrot and stick approach only works well for simple tasks where thought and creativity are not required.

Inspiration, on the other hand, is a desire from within to do something you believe is worthwhile. You are not doing it just for a reward or to avoid punishment, but because you want to do it. As a leader, tapping into inspiration requires personal understanding of your team members. You must know people well enough to connect them to a compelling, shared vision, and to tie the task or challenge to personal outcomes that they find personally worthwhile.

Ultimately, a leader’s job is to make their team look good in the eyes of others and feel good about the work they do. When you facilitate them (as opposed to driving them) to achieve great results, you can tap into powerful forces of motivation and inspiration.

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