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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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Motivation theories

If you have ever wondered why people do what they do, and most of us have, you were really pondering people’s motivations. How do leaders stop people in an organization from doing irresponsible things and keep others doing what needs to be done? From a leader’s perspective, motivating followers to achieve or surpass organizational goals is uniquely important. If your company’s division has a specific profit objective for the coming quarter, or if your marketing team has been charged with selling 10,000 season tickets, or with raising a certain dollar amount in gifts and donations, a crucial leader task concerns motivating group members so that objectives are achieved. Follower motivation is a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient. You still need skillful and talented colleagues to help you as well as the resources and support necessary to achieve your team’s goals and objectives.

By virtue of their legitimate positions as heads of their organizations and by their motivational and interpersonal talents, leader have a deep stockpile of tools to keep followers focused on the organization’s goals: communication, inspiration, compensation, threats, punishments, and rewards of all sorts. Working against this collection of incentives are the selfish interests of followers that make them want to do what they want to do instead of focusing on the specific goals and objectives of the organization. In certain nonprofit organizations such as museums, gardens, or ...

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