Five Common Beliefs that Sabotage Sincere Leaders

Wrong beliefs sabotage sincere leaders.

Sincerity doesn’t compensate for ignorance.

Motivation doesn't work   Sincere people adopt beliefs and practices that block success. Everyone does. With time and reflection you learn and adapt, or you crash.

Five common beliefs that sabotage sincere leaders:

  1. It’s not personal; it’s just business.
  2. The purpose of business is to make money.
  3. Leaders are in positions of power.
  4. The only thing that really matters is results.
  5. If you can’t measure it. it doesn’t matter.


If it’s business, it’s personal. “Practice self-regulation by listening to your heart and acknowleging the crucial role that feelings play in your work and life.”

The purpose of business is to serve. Profit is a by-product of serving employees and customers well. “The nature of human motivation is not about making money. The nature of human motivation is in making meaning.”

Leaders are in postitions of responsibility and service. “Now that you have power, don’t ever use it. Great leaders are great because people trust them, not because they have power.” Admiral Theodore Blanchard.

What really matters is why and how people achieve results. It’s silly to say results don’t matter. It’s wise focus to on purpose.

If you cannot measure it, it is probably really important. “The most rewarding aspects of work are those most difficult to measure.” Susan Fowler

Suboptimal motivation:

False beliefs are dangerous because they connect us with suboptimal motivations. Money motivates to a point, but optimal motivation goes deeper. Everyone is motivated. Successful leaders help people find optimal motivation.

Finding optimal motivation:

  1. Help individuals align to work-related values.
  2. Provide an honest assessment of skills.
  3. Acknowledge people’s emotions.
  4. Discuss your intentions openly.
  5. Invite choice. Explore options within boundaries.

What faulty beliefs about leadership have you modified or rejected?

How might leaders help people find optimal motivation?

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BuyWhy Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does.”

*This post is based on my conversation with Susan Fowler and her new book.

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