Pushing ropes or fueling fires

Motivating others can be as challenging as pushing ropes. Leaders and managers push people by pressuring, explaining, creating check points, measuring production, threatening, rewarding, and more. Successful leaders learn how to push ropes and get things done.

On the other hand, motivated people don’t require pushing.

The trouble with motivated people is they don’t require the focus and energy that unmotivated people require. They don’t require pushing. This leads some to say the best thing to do is get out of their way. However, hands-off leaders are failures. Here’s the problem.

Hands-off leaders stay hands-off until something goes wrong. Translation, they step in to correct. Motivated people need more than correction. They need fuel for their fire. They need positive feedback. They need reoccurring assurances their efforts matter. It’s a mistake interpreting hands-off to mean withholding positive feedback.

Leaders take people further by fueling fires. Don’t worry. Fueling fires won’t take long. You’ll still have time to push ropes.

How to fuel fires?

#1. Honor progress. Research shows that making progress fuels passion to make more progress. For example, the closer you are to finish line the more energized you are to finish.

#2. Grant access to you and your time. Avoid spending all your time solving problems and dealing with problem people.

#3. Drop in with a cup of coffee and a bagel to describe how something they’ve done benefits you and the company. Say, “You make my job a pleasure when you (fill in the blank.)

Motivated employees/volunteers require more attention not less. Leaving them to themselves puts them on the awkward path of only seeing you when they need correction or there’s a problem to solve. They deserve more. They’ll achieve more if you fuel their fire.


Related posts:

See it say it — Correction — Positive talk — Cheerleaders


What can leaders and managers do to fuel the fire of motivated people?


Leadership Freak

Dan Rockwell