3 Rules of Values-Based Leadership


English: Motivational Saying

English: Motivational Saying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Effective leaders know and follow three important rules regarding human motivation. Here’s what effective leaders know:

1) The golden rule, “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” is broken.  Dr. Tony Alessandra, Ph.D. created the much more relevant “Platinum Rule®: Do onto others as they want done onto them.”

A leader will naturally  lead the way he/she wants to be led based on his/her motives and values.  This works well if the person one is trying to lead shares similar values, but is highly frustrating for both the leader and the follower if they hold opposite values, which is highly likely.

Knowledge of both one’s own values and your follower’s values allows the responsible leader to appeal to follower’s needs/motives and values so that the follower is motivated to follow the leader’s vision.  The reason people tend to follow is the leader’s vision matters to the follower and satisfies one or more of his/her needs and therefore the follower values the vision enough to be motivated to follow.

How does a leader discover his/her values and his/her followers’ values?  Reiss Motivation Profiles® (RMP) are the most effective means of understanding the sixteen common human motives/values.  Both leaders and followers can complete RMPs and then compare results.

2) “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”-Dr. Stephen R. Covey.  We always observe and interpret others’ motives through the lens of our own values.  This naturally flawed method of motive evaluation is not accurate nor predictive of others’ motives/values and behaviors.  We try to put ourselves in other people’s’ shoes to understand why someone behaves a certain way and we end up disguising our own values in their clothes which often do not fit and wearing our own shoes.  We understand why we might be motivated to behave the way someone else behaved in a situation, but we are never sure why they were actually motivated to do so.  This leads to a leader’s frustrated and true exclamation, “I DON’T KNOW WHY SOMEONE WOULD EVER DO THAT!”  The leader doesn’t know why someone would behave the way they behaved because the leader’s value lens blurs the observation with the leader’s natural value’s blind spot and prevents the leader from being able to understand why someone might be motivated in an opposite way than the leader.

RMPs allow leaders to greatly increase the level of motivational and values-based behavioral understanding of both themselves and those they lead.  Knowledge of followers’ RMPs allow leaders to more accurately predict followers motives and values.  The reason someone behaved the way s/he chose to behave is s/he was motivated to do so.  RMPs are the flashlight to shine insight into one’s motives blind spots.  Understanding one’s motives and values and those of one’s followers is critical to be an effective leader.

3) Dix’s 1st Law of Motivation: How you feel about what you do ultimately motivates you more than how successfully you do it.

Feelings matter and impact decisions and behaviors.  Leaders ignore and minimize the role and impact of emotion at their own peril. Logic is not a very strong motive.

At the 2012 World Society of Motivation Scientists and Professionals Conference in Washington, D.C., one esteemed presenter forwarded the concept that humans are all drug addicts. We are motivated to think and behave in ways that release the most desired, naturally produced neurochemicals in our brains.  We do what feels good and do it again and again to get our internal neuro-fix. Emotions are an indicator of our needs.   There is truth in the saying, “If it feels good… do it.”  We may rationalize many behaviors, but ultimately we are motivated to satisfy our greatest needs and when we do so we feel good.  When we deny our needs, we feel frustrated or worse.

We are motivated to do more of what satisfies our greatest needs even if we are not particularly effective nor successful at doing the actual task.  This is why there are so many happy enthusiasts, hobbyists and armatures.  They are in active pursuit of their bliss and enjoying the neurochemicals payoffs of satisfying their needs.

Leaders who understand the emotional side of motivation can understand a more complete picture of the dimensions of human motivation and can then lead from the heart as well as the head.

Leaders who seek to master values-based leadership must strive to lessen the natural tendency to view others’ behaviors through the leader’s value lens. The leader must use valid, unbiased information on followers’ motives to genuinely understand and predict their behaviors.  The Reiss Motivation Profile® is the proven tool to provide this level understanding and insight into motives/values.

These three rules are the first steps to effective values-based leadership (VBL). VBL can be highly effective to unlocking the full potential of both leaders and followers and lead to new levels of sustainable performance.

If you would like to obtain your Reiss Motivation Profile®, contact me at andy@lifematchesbook.com.

Are You an Effective Cat Herder/Leader?


No truer leadership video has ever been made!

Alignment is a key determiner of effective leaders and organizations. Basically, the best leaders tend to be the best cat herders. They are skilled at adapting to a fluid, ever-changing situation and are able to guide their teams and organizations to their goals.

At the International Society of Performance Improvement’s (ISPI) annual conference, it was reported that research suggests that any organization that has more than five members is by definition dysfunctional. That explains a lot doesn’t it?  It’s hard to keep your team all on “the same page” when the “characters” are constantly trying to run off the margins.

When leaders assume that dysfunction is the natural and expected state of their organization, they are free to focus their time, energy and resources on minimizing the impact of chaos and dysfunction by constantly checking for and adjusting the general group’s perception of alignment.

Often leaders and managers become frustrated when Pandora’s box of issues continues to break free of the band-aids and duct tape that the leaders constantly apply. Instead of becoming frustrated and feeling like a failure, the effective leader, simply expects the fixes to be temporary, monitors constantly for signs of slippage and change, responds to the latest information, plans for future solutions and marvels that a temporary solution holds for as long as it does.

Not many leaders have discovered that the goal is alignment and become discouraged when they realize their vision and mission is not understood, and practically and uniformly applied by their field staff.  They expect perfect alignment after their webinar or e-mail that explains their vision and are surprised and alarmed when they confront dysfunction and conflicting perspectives.

One of the keynote speakers at the ISPI conference said that the best managers are best at managing messes.  I would add that the most effective leaders and managers are those that expect to have daily messes, focus on mitigating the most meaningful messes that are causing the organization to lose alignment and don’t allow the ankle-biter messes to distract them. They have an appropriate tolerance for minor messes and accept them as a natural part of the organizational chaos that they are trying to herd towards their goal.

Saddle up leaders! Your herd of felines awaits. It’s time to fire up and find your meaningful messes!

Formula for a Really Bad Boss


What’s the formula for a really bad boss?

Selfish x Amoral x Untrustworthy+Indifferent+Inconsistent+Pessimistic+Paranoid=Bad Boss

By living the opposite of each element, you are a great boss!

Selfless x Moral x Trustworthy+Compassionate+Consistent+Optimistic+Trusting=Good Boss

My formulas may be incomplete.  What would you like to be added?  Are you fortunate to work for a good boss? Are you frustrated by working for a bad boss?

If you are a boss, are your actions adding up to the sum of either formula in the eye’s of your employees?

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