Where Managers Fear to Tread – The Block to Authentic Results

Goals, incentives and targets are still seen as the main tools for performance improvement.

This flies in the face of the science of motivation and self determination theory of Ryan & Deci (made popular in Dan Pink’s book Drive)

The surprising truth of what motivates us is intrinsic motivation. Something that is much more powerful and enduring and it relies on how individuals experience their work, through

  • purpose
  • connection/relatedness
  • autonomy
  • mastery

And not external carrots and sticks!

Because organisations, their leaders and (whether they like the system they are in or not) their managers are so engrossed in the Jurassic practices of carrots and sticks, guess what happens in their relationship with their staff?

Leaders and managers have

  • little grasp of their staffs’ overall purpose
  • no real depth of connection to them and what’s important
  • little idea of the autonomy their staff are capable of
  • a low understanding of the mastery their staff could attain

It’s no wonder managers and leaders rarely know how to hold a conversation with their staff about purpose, connection, autonomy and mastery. Because of an over-reliance on carrots and sticks these topics of conversation are areas in which managers fear to tread.

How can I be consistently successful as a manager of performance and not find out these things from the view point of my staff?

Instead, we end up shoe-horning staff into targets and goals and systems of external rewards that fail to nurture how they really could (and want to) experience their work.

Someday soon, the corporate world will wake up to the links between outdated motivation and our consistently poor levels of employee engagement.

In the meantime, those managers that can develop coaching style conversations, in which the staff member feels they are being understood at a level that authentically fits with what truly motivates, will benefit; even if it takes a while for the carrot and stick dinosaurs to become extinct!

Glenn Bracey

Glenn Bracey

Glenn is the co-founder and inspirational learning and performance director of Future Vision. He is a trainer, coach, conference speaker and passionate advocate of developing learning that makes a tangible difference to your business, its people and customers.

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