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On Leadership and Motivation

As a leader, people need to trust you. You build that trust by consistency of words and actions and create an environment that allows the employee to gain meaning, purpose and motivation from their labour.

Competence Connection and Choice

Building from Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the work of Deci and Ryan on Self Determination shows that people who are:

  • Treated as competent - valued for being good at what they do

  • Allowed to make good connections with the individuals with whom they work, the teams they are a part of and the ad hoc groups that form extemporaneously and;

  • Given the choice / autonomy to make decisions (even if those decisions are with a specified set of predetermined parameters)

will work harder, give more and strive more fully as they are intrinsically motivated.

So what are the behaviours that drive the above? Some of them are:

  1. Allowing employees flexibility in their job

  2. Encouraging them to take initiative

  3. Listening attentively

  4. Sharing facts, data and knowledge

  5. Showing genuine interest in each employee

  6. Allowing participation in decision making

  7. Asking for opinions and perspectives

  8. Reflecting upon what your employees say / do

  9. Take responsibility of one’s own actions (don’t blame others!)

  10. Share the why behind decisions

  11. Provide choices to employees

  12. Clarify and explain organizational structure / process

  13. Acknowledge employees feelings and experiences

  14. Avoid controlling language (should, must, have to etc.)

  15. Refrain from judgement and criticism...

You cannot make your employee feel competent, connected or have choices only they can feel that for themselves. You CAN create the environment where the employee can feel competent connected and having choices

To quote Simon Sinek, “Leadership is a choice not a rank”

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1 Comment

Raju Mandhyan
Raju Mandhyan
Nov 11, 2021

@Andrew, J. Calvert,

All these suggestions are very good and quite comprehensive. AT first read, I was tempted to add true care and compassion for all colleagues at work but at the second read it struck me that care and compassion are implicitly included in your suggestions.

I like these tips.


Raju Mandhyan


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