So many questions recently from folks telling me about their struggles in shifting from a “command and control” leadership style to a more acceptable “grow, learn, and develop” style. They all include the same thing, speed and accountability. Here are just a few.

“It seems to take so long to gain ground.”

"My boss needs results faster from me and I am going to have to just make my people do it soon.”

“My team doesn’t always take me seriously or respond with enough sense of urgency to get the goals achieved fast enough.”

“It’s harder to hold people accountable this way.”

Sound familiar? I am sure it does when you are making the change to a leadership style based on development, trust, and inspiration allowing people to achieve because they want to versus because they have to.

So why are you struggling so much?

Because there are two styles of motivation you have to understand before you can proceed – fear of loss or potential for gain. Let’s explore both.

Fear of loss – I will do things faster in a “command and control” style of leadership because I have the potential of losing something, whether it be money, quality of life, or self-esteem from the pressure you put me under in this leadership style. Fear of loss is THREE times more powerful than potential for gain and fear of loss is immediate!!! Tell me I am going to lose part of my pay, or days off, or be reprimanded and I will react quickly because I can’t “afford” that kind of loss.

Potential for Gain – This one isn’t as powerful initially because I may not necessarily believe the gain will actually happen so I may react slower or because of prior life experiences wait for the other shoe to drop and have you revert to your old “command and control” style. However once the result is achieved and I DO receive the gain you promised you will now have built some momentum and my trust in you as a leader.

Once momentum is built through your motivation as a leader and the gains achieved I will follow you forever because you have gained my heart as well as my head. Constant motivation delivered by you now will only cause me to work harder and harder achieving more results because I want more, motivation that is, and ultimately recognition from you as the boss. In command and control I stop working as soon as you leave, in motivation I keep going!

So back to the original question, “Why does it take longer to get things done with motivation?” Well first it’s because you haven’t been doing it that way and you have created change and yes, people fear change, even good change because it throws us off balance, we don’t understand it, we scratch our heads why, and on and on and on. Second and most important… haven’t established TRUST which is the key to me doing anything for you. Just like me, your team doesn’t believe you, YET! They haven’t seen the gain, they haven’t seen the benefit, and they don’t have any reason to believe that your leadership style will get them to the promised land. How do you correct that so you can move faster? Build relationships with your team, be honest, care about them, and ULTIMATELY hold them accountable to win in a positive motivating way.

Once you have established a relationship as described and your team trusts you, accountability is soooooo easy……….

How do you do that?
Stay tuned for my next post!

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Tags: Swingley, command, control, gain, leadership, loss, momentum, motivation


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Comment by Anthony on April 10, 2010 at 6:58am
Once one has gained traction with potential for gain on a team level do you feel like there is still room for the fear of loss style?? initial reaction is yes due to not being able to motivate everyone the same way....
Comment by David Rose on April 6, 2010 at 11:05am
Right on, Andy. Here's my take...Consistent communication and follow up leads to dependability. Once the team knows they can depend on their leader, they’re willing to accept his/her path toward success more readily. Once the support is there, it’s easy to hold accountable and easy to show progress, too.

Great leaders learn what motivates the individuals on the team, and reinforce performance in a way that connects with each individual.
Comment by Doug Golden on April 6, 2010 at 10:05am
Awe c'mon. I don't want to wait for the next post! I hate cliffhangers Andy. ;)




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