A national campaign to ban the word “bossy” was launched in March by Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook. Let’s ban a few books while we are at it! While Sandburg’s intentions are probably good, and she is obviously successful, she is off on the wrong track in trying to mandate behavior and calling it Leadership.
The best definition of leadership I have heard was by John Maxwell who said that “Leadership is influence.” Leadership is the ability to get someone to do what you want them to do…. because they WANT to do it. There are three basic ways to “influence”, or lead, people. The oldest and most primitive form of influence is based on fear and intimidation. This method has been tried since the days of the Caveman, where the biggest guy was the “influencer” or “The Boss”, and this worked fine…for a little while. Until the little guy, using his brain, picks up a club and becomes the new “influencer”. Others reacted by running away, or, ignoring the threat…hoping it would go away…
The new, club-wielding “boss” is in charge for a while…until someone else invents a spear, a sword, a bow-and-arrow, a gun, a cannon and ultimately the atomic bomb, which, proponents of “the bomb” originally asserted, would “be so fear-inducing that it would eliminate war forever”…yeah, right! There are probably at least twenty wars raging as we speak!
So, FEAR as a motivator results in: FIGHT IT, FLEE IT, OR FORGET IT…and usually accomplishes the opposite of its intent, such as our prison system. So what was the next method used to “influence” people successfully? In the evolution of the science of human motivation, or human “influencing”, the next method to emerge was the obverse side of the “influence” coin, instead of the stick we tried the carrot, or incentive motivation, or “influence” based NOT on fear, but on REWARD. It is an attempt to “buy behavior”. The classic example of this system is the donkey pulling a cart, chasing a carrot dangling from a stick placed just in front of his nose. This system works fine with donkeys, but people, having that beautiful brain between the ears, people will eventually figure out the scam… and go on strike! In that case they must be given a bite of the carrot to keep them interested. And then a lighter cart. And then another bite…and more-and-more bites…and a lighter-and-lighter cart…you get the drift…the result is that you end up paying more-and-more for less-and-less. Executives and workers are constantly seeking greater compensation and the problem of CEO incentives is off the chain. (We will save the subject of the minimum wage for another time.)One word for this is inflation. Another word is a failed motivation system. You cannot buy excellence. Just like you cannot pay a young mother to lift a car off of her child…she will only be able to do it out of LOVE. Yes, people will work harder for love than they will for money. You can take it to the bank! So the job of the leader is to find out what the followers love, or want, and help them get it. How do you motivate a group? One individual at a time. You must find out what they each want… and then show them how they can get what THEY want by helping YOU get what YOU want. Building a dynamic team is best illustrated by the difference between cooperation and collaboration. Cooperation is working together agreeably; collaboration is working together aggressively!
So, what is the STATE OF THE ART in the Science of human “influencing”, or motivation? The State of the Art in Human Motivation is NOT based on fear OR incentive… it is ATTITUDE MOTIVATION, based on CHANGE! We figuratively change the donkey into a thoroughbred horse that just loves to run! Of course, it is impossible to change a donkey into a horse, but a man can change. With the proper ATTITUDE a man, or woman, can transform themselves into whatever they desire (there’s that beautiful brain again). Your attitude determines your altitude, just ask any pilot.
Just what is an attitude? An attitude is how one thinks habitually about a given subject. An attitude is a habit of thought which affects the way we act. A lack of belief can result in a negative attitude which inhibits behavior and can poison and even paralyze an organization’s productivity. FEAR, DOUBT, and WORRY are the three big de-motivators in life.
If we can change the way people think, we can change the way they act. Attitudes are formed over time through repetition and must be changed by reprogramming over time through repetition. It takes 21 days to form or change a habit (or an attitude) and ten weeks to build a leader. We repetitiously program the brain for success. The brain, being a very sophisticated computer, is programmed with repetition.(should I repeat that again?)We have developed a success-seeking operating system for the brain based on the traits and characteristics of the most successful people who ever lived. This program is known as the “Dynamics of Personal Goal Setting” and is the subject of my BLOG:
What is motivation? The dictionary says that motivation is the reason anyone does anything. That reason is the “motive”, which is one of the root words. The other root is “action”, hence motivation is motive driven or, goal-directed, action. The motive is usually to avoid pain or to seek pleasure.
Effective Leaders are positive-thinking, goal-directed individuals that choose to transform themselves through a program of life-long learning and developing personal leadership abilities. Personal leadership is the ability to lead yourself, which must be accomplished before leading others. Personal leadership might be described as “getting your act together”. Maslow showed that once a person has achieved all the lower physical and emotional needs, then and only then, does the highest need emerge: the need to help other people! Once people have achieved this state of “Self Actualization” as Maslow calls it, they can then develop a white-hot heat of desire to achieve their goals, which are the things they LOVE. And, with BELIEF they develop an “I-will-not-be-denied” attitude. They have a Plan, a Blueprint and a Vision. Their commitment is obvious and people flock to follow them. Once they have a following, the job becomes one of developing others. Great leader don’t create more followers…THEY CREATE MORE LEADERS!
When any two people are together, one will be the leader… and the other will be the follower. The decision as to whether to be a leader or follower is made by the people involved. If you can lead one person, you can lead a group of people, it is that simple. The choice is yours…WHICH WILL YOU BE?

Duke Runyan is the Leadership Guru Guy. With forty years experience in business ( as a motivator and a boot-strapping entrepreneur, he will FOCUS his vast store of knowledge and experience like a laser beam on YOUR Company Goals or problems. Give him a call to schedule a FREE Goals Assessment Counseling session:850-232-2951 and read his latest BLOG to learn about the Dynamics of Personal Goal Setting program:

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