Leadership and Management- is it simply a question of motivation?

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Recently I read an article describing the views about motivational leadership of the new chief executive of Private Media. Given the brevity of the article, I recognise what the CEO said is likely to have been heavily edited, but, in many ways, what was printed is so different from our view of executive leadership and motivation, that I feel compelled to comment.

 Point #1: “My job is to keep my team motivated” 

While it may appear we are playing with semantics, people today use the words ‘motivation’ and ‘inspiration’ as interchangeable.  But there are clear differences. Motivation is intrinsic or comes from within and is based around having sound personal reasons for wanting to undertake a course of action. Think of those times in your own life when you have felt some deep-seated drive to take action around something. As a leader no matter how much you do or say, if a person does not want to do something they will not do it.  As a leader you do have options, you can command/coerce the person into taking actions.  However, the probability of producing sustainable high quality outcomes is low. Or you can inspire them. Inspiration is extrinsic or comes from another such as you as leader.  Inspiration is influencing or awakening people’s thoughts about an issue or area in a way that they may not have considered before and as such they may become motivated to take the course of action proposed. The bottom line is that as a leader you can only inspire, the rest is up to the individual.

Point #2.  “I feel like I am the mother of this company.  And every one of these people I would fight for….”

Yes, the role of leader and manager includes making sure their people are the best they can be.  But it also includes some of the vital task aspects such as clarity around purpose and direction, goals, measures and holding accountability.  In our experience, it’s highly valuable to build relationships with your people based on trust and respect, but there is a proven risk in getting too close and to getting orientation to task and relationships out of balance.

Point #3.  “,,even my best team members…(may have) a meltdown over something. And so I spend the next hour, two hours if need be, …..rebuilding their confidence.”

In our view, executive leadership and management is ultimately about performance and sustainability, of which confidence is just one aspect. From his extensive research, Peter Drucker eloquently describes the variables that require the leader’s consideration, in sequence, to deliver optimal performance.

1. Performance Expectations

  • Does the person understand the organisation’s big picture i.e. the mission, vision, values and goals?
  • Does the person understand their job responsibilities and objectives?
  • Are the expectations talked through and updated when there is a change?

2. Performance Feedback

  • Are you providing them with timely feedback on their performance?
  • Do you observe and provide coaching to the person?

3. Information and Resources

  • Do you provide the information, time and resources necessary for the person to do their job effectively?

 4. Job Fit

  • Does the person have a written job description that is relevant to their job and /or written standards for doing their job?
  • Does the job use the best talents and skills of the person?

 5. Training and Development

  • Are you supporting their technical and non-technical training for their job?
  • Does the person have an opportunity to grow in their current job?

6. Motivation

  • Does the person feel like a valued member of your team?
  • Do you invite participation?
  • Do you listen to their ideas?
  • Do you give positive feedback when they do something well?
  • Do you celebrate success?

So it seems that the Private Media CEO adopts the’ tail wagging the dog’ approach to leadership and management.  But I am left with one question – I wonder if you are too: is it any different when managing and leading creatives?  Another blog for next week.

Contact Vivente for Management Development Program that will help you to enhance your Leadership and Management skills in Sydney, Australia.