Know where motivation comes from

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
– Dwight Eisenhower

There was a manager named Tom who came early to a seminar we were presenting on leadership. He was attired in an olive green polo shirt and white pleated slacks ready for a day of golf.

The golfer Tom walked to the front of the room and said, "Look, you session is not mandatory, so I'm not planning on attending."

"That's fine, but I wonder why you came early to this session to tell us that. There must be something that you'd like to know."

"Well, yes there is," the manager confessed. "All I want to know is how to get my people on the sales team to improve. How do I manage them?"

"Is that all you want to know?"

"Yes, that's it," declared the manager.

"Well, we can save you a lot of time and make sure that you get to your golf game on time."

The manager Tom leaned forward, waiting for the words of wisdom that he could extract about how to manage his people.

And we told him:

"You can't."


"You can't manage anyone. So there, you can go and have a great game."

"What are you saying?" asked the manager. "I thought you give whole seminars on motivating others. What do you mean, I can't"

"We do give whole seminars on this topic. But one of the first things we teach managers is that they can't really directly control their people. Motivation always comes from within you employee, not from you."

"So what is it you do teach?"

"We teach you how to get people to motivate themselves. That is the key. And you do that by managing agreements, not people. And that is what we are going to discuss this morning."

The manager put his car keys in his pocket and sat down in the first seat closest to the front of the room for the rest of the seminar.

1 comment:

  1. How true that is! Motivation is not asking someone to do something. Nor is it manipulating. It can not be achieved without earning trust. Trust can not be earned without involvement and desire to give!
    Without that trust one can do nothing. Once you have it, the team can do almost anything.