Unmotivated: Look in the Mirror to Improve Worker's Attitudes

I think Mr Cowley's article in the October issue of Maintenance Solutions brings up good points, I challenge some thinking.

First, there is a difference between leadership and management.

- You manage time, processes and projects.

- Management is about how and when.

- You lead people.

- Leadership is about who and why.

Leaders can not motivate people, but they can inspire people. Motivation is deeply personal and unique to each person. A leader must get to know his/her people, build relationships. When a leader knows his/her people, you can move mountains.

As Mr Cowley points out, a good leader models the way and walks-his/her-talk. The leader keeps promises and does not make promises he/she can not keep. A leader is interested rather than interesting.

Two books I'd recommend, Kouzes and Posner's The Leadership Challenge and Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Both books contain timeless wisdom for creating "world-class" teams.

Carpe Diem!

David Carr

5 Replies

  • Investing in your people motivates them too. Like providing training, show you care, trust them and increases their self esteem and confidence. A great way to motivate them. (Christmas parties aren't bad either. :>)

  • In reply to Don Fitchett:

    I too read the article and enjoyed it's content. Management and leadership are definitely two different things. Management pertains to the application and performance of knowledge. A true manager is responsible for how and when knowledge is applied. Leadership pertains to who will apply the knowledge and why. A true leader is responsible for results. Management is doing things right (knowledge), and  leadership is doing the right things (results). Just because someone holds the rank of manager does not mean they are a leader. It does not provide them with priveledge or power. It simply imposes responsibility. I have found that if I express this concept to my staff, they recognize that their role is just as important as mine. This inspires teamwork, helps them find motivation, and most importantly, allows for success.

  • In reply to Naomi Millán:

    Generally speaking and as noted earlier, motivation is an intrinsic thing driven by a sense of purpose (long term meaning) and feeling of happiness (short term enjoyment).  Leaders (as opposed to managers) should be very aware of this and recognize how to create these to employees.  Money and benefits are short term bumps  that end up demotivating int he long run.  Way too many studies support this view to ignore its value.  A sense of purpose is not "growth" but something more meaningful to society.  

  • In reply to tparker75:

    As a person who facilitates and coaches organizations in performance optimization (mostly in maintenance and operations) I think there is too much attention on the differences between leadership and management.  They are two sides of the same coin; and both are required.  Management is about setting expectations on performance and measuring performance.  Leadership is about what to do about the performance level achieved.  

    Like batters in baseball, everyone has their own style on how they make (or attempt to make) contact over the plate.  Many styles can be effective, some are better then others, some are more effective in one situation relative to another. Personality, position, frame of reference, personal objectives, etc. all combine to provide the components of the swing and style.

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