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Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership by Phillip Van Hooser

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Chapter 6

Two Motivational Truths

Ground Rule #6
Leaders don’t motivate followers;
Leaders search for the wants and needs that motivate followers.

What Supervisors and Managers Want to Know

When I’m working with supervisors and managers directly, I frequently start the interaction with a simple question: “If you could gain one thing in particular from our time together, what would it be?”

My question’s intent should be obvious. When I know up front what my audience (my followers) want or need, I can focus on shaping our interaction to specifically address those individual needs. Once I’ve successfully helped satisfy their needs, they’re almost always more positive, receptive, engaged—motivated as a result.

Please read the previous two paragraphs one more time. In reality, they’re not about how I approach my job—they’re about how you should approach yours. Within those two paragraphs rests a significant truth about human motivation.

Let me reposition the statements ever so slightly, and maybe that significant truth will make more sense to you:

If you know up front what your followers want or need, your focus should be on shaping your interaction with them to specifically address those individual needs. Once you’ve successfully helped them satisfy their needs, you can expect your followers to be more positive, receptive, engaged—motivated.

Doesn’t that sound like the essence of a motivated workforce to you?

Help Me Motivate My People

Having posed that opening question to a great ...

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