Are you in a position of leadership and do you have to get people to take action? How easy do you find it?
Do you have to repeatedly ask your subordinates to fulfil their duty? Or is once all it takes? I’ve recently seen first hand that there are two very different ways to get people to take action.
In both the methods I’m about to describe, there are many flavours in each type, but I’m just going to briefly highlight the two differing methods.
Method i) Asking/telling someone or using some form of coercion.
Method ii) Getting people inspired to take action, i.e. pushing the right button that puts them in touch with their own power to act.
1. Asking or Telling
In my opinion, a terrible way of getting people to take action is to tell them. Nobody likes to be told what to do. It makes people feel resentful and takes away any of the joy from the doing. Asking is not much better however, there are times when it is necessary to ask.
The worst way is any form or coercion. A quick example is ‘do this or you lose your job’. It brings out the worst in others, however, there is a minor exception to the rule. The only time I see this as a good thing is in the format of military training or even high level sports training.
It’s often a case of complete what you’ve been assigned or you face a punishment; a punishment used at motivation. Only in this context can be quite effective but I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea.
Ultimately though, the crux is that this method is primarily based upon fear. It’s a tool that uses an emotion within us that isn’t conducive to fruitful results and long term, will yield poor results.
Inspiring people to take action is a totally different kettle of fish. When you reach into a person, find the right button to push, *insert innuendo here* 😛 or you pull the right lever to get leverage, it can be extremely powerful.
You only have to briefly look at what’s going on in the middle east to see the kind of ripple inspiration can have and the momentum it has too.
Just think, you don’t have to ever ask that person to do anything. Both you and they know what needs to be done, but you communicate with them in a way which reaches the part that really speaks to them.
The real power comes from the ‘why‘. When you give people a purpose and a cause. It has a driving effect, in the same way as fear, but will yield a totally different set of results.
There is a third option which is a combination of the military training I described and inspiring people. It’s like being the leader of a nation. Moving your people to act. Through this method you have respect and discipline and people acting our or being inspired rather than obligation and fear.
If you can find the right balance between the two it can be a truly powerful force and you will almost be able to get people to do anything.
People don’t respect, or lose respect for those who do not effectively communicate with them to get them to take action.
I would so much rather have people respect me for bringing out the best in them rather than getting them to do my bidding through a culture of fear.