Know Your People and Look Out for Their Welfare

Know Your People and Look Out for Their Welfare

It’s often said but less frequently done: “No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care.” 

Being a technical expert can help you be an influential leader or manager—people like to follow people who know their stuff. 

But if you want to motivate people for the longer term, if you want people to follow you because they truly want to do so, you need to dig deeper. People need

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Are You “Rewarding A While Hoping For B?”

Are You “Rewarding A While Hoping For B?”

Incentives matter. Rewards motivate people to behave in certain ways. Using incentives, therefore, is one great way to influence the form, direction and intensity of how people act. 

Goals also matter. They help us clarify where we’re headed and how to focus our efforts. Setting difficult, specific goals, therefore, is one of the best ways to motivate yourself and others (see the numerous studies on the topic, particularly those by Gary Latham and Edwin Locke). 

But goals and incentives can—and sometimes do—run amuck. 

And when that happens, it’s often in the form of

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On Strength Training and Leadership

On Strength Training and Leadership

Goals are everywhere, but they rarely correspond with behavior. To illustrate, here’s a quick story. 

I started taking strength training seriously in January 2013. I was serving in Afghanistan, and neither my military base nor the weather was conducive for my go-to physical exercise, running. 

So I dove into educating myself and practicing getting strong by focusing on kettlebell training and the “big lifts” in the world of barbells: squat, bench press, and deadlift. 

I made some progress, but I hit a plateau after a few months. This is common, but my plateau seemed unusually stubborn. I found this troubling, particularly given that my goal was to join the “1,000 Pound Club” by the time I was set to leave my base in late November. This means that the clock was ticking, reminding me of the dwindling of time left for me to squat, bench press, and deadlift a combined 1,000 lbs. 

Then, I started reading

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Employee Motivation: Expectancy Theory

Expectancy theory is one of the most well-known theories of work motivation. It takes a rational approach toward human behavior, assuming that people make conscious decisions among alternatives. In this clip, I explain the basics of expectancy theory and some of the potential implications it has for managers.