Lead from the Inside Out

Posted: July 16, 2017 in Leadership
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by Richard Martin

It’s common to provide rewards and (occasionally) punishments to inflect behaviour. For instance, my daughter works on telephone sales. When they reach their weekly goals, they receive a monetary incentive. There’s nothing wrong in principle with that, but judging by the fact that she’s gotten the reward just about every week since she started the job indicates to me that the reward is actually part of the basic compensation.

The problem is that people start to expect the reward. It’s like that scene in Christmas Vacation, where Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase’s character) learns that the annual Christmas bonus, normally given every year, is not forthcoming. He was so sure it was that he put money he didn’t have on a down payment for a pool. Much hilarity ensues.

It’s much better to motivate people from the inside out, through intrinsic motivation and transformational leadership. It’s essential to find what makes people tick, and what will truly motivate them emotionally, from the gut. That’s what I mean by leading from the inside out. Instead of finding ways to reward them or, much worse, punish them, look for what they’re passionate and truly care about. Create an emotional connection that goes to the heart of their concerns… and interests. Alternately, create an enticing vision and give them outcome-based goals that let them use their intellectual abilities and are stimulating and engaging.

You can always provide rewards after the fact for a job well done or performance beyond expectations. But it you go into the mission with a pre-ordained reward for a set level of achievement, that’s all you may get. Leading and influencing others from the inside out will get you much further than anticipated.

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc. This article may be used for non-commercial use with proper attribution.

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