Engagement is Getting People to Do Things THEY Want to Do

It’s a mistake to believe leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do.

Engagement is getting people to do things THEY want to do.


Pressuring people to do what they don’t want to do raises resistance and results in resentment.

Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Let’s add the “we.”

It might begin with the leader, but success requires getting to WE. Leadership is getting people to do something WE want done. 

Apart from WE, all you find is manipulation and resistance.


You aren’t leading when you’re pressuring and manipulating.

Mutual goals strengthen connection, increase motivation, and produce shared accountability.

Imposed goals invite resistance.

Any behavior that produces resistance is a hole in your leadership boat. Time spent overcoming resistance often creates more resistance.

People know when you are trying to lower their resistance and they don’t like it. It feels:

  1. Disingenuous.
  2. Manipulative.
  3. Self-serving.

Skepticism goes up when you try to reconnect, after violating someone’s best interests. 

What you love:

The more you do what you love, the more energy you have to do what you love.

Some things give you energy WHILE you do them. Other things give you energy after they’re done. Help people do more of the former and less of the latter.

You can’t lead successfully and steal energy at the same time.

Help people do what they love AND serve organizational interests at the same time.


  1. Motivation.
  2. Goal-setting.
  3. Praise and recognition.
  4. Coaching – behaviors, goals, timelines, support, and accountability in a learn-as-go environment.
  5. Feedback.
  6. Praise – The fear of punishment might achieve conformity, but it never ignites the heart.
  7. Recognition.

A leader of influence knows what others want and helps them get it.