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A New Model of Leadership

Carole gaskell with james 1216

As we approach Chapter 8 and getting near the end of my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (https://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) we find the topics become ever more serious and vital. Motivation has this tendency to become ever more involved in key aspects of human life and work. We have dealt with things like performance, teams and appraisal already, but now we shift up a gear and start considering how motivation impacts leadership and engagement. It should be obvious that with only one chapter devoted to leadership AND engagement that there must be more books in the pipeline – and there are – because these topics are so big one chapter can scarcely cover any ground at all! That said, however, I believe the chapter is absolutely crammed with insights and useful activities that can get anybody started on better leadership and more engagement in the work place. A clue is given early on in the chapter when Eisenhower’s definition of leadership is quoted: “Leadership is the ability to get a man to do what you want him to do, when you want it done, in a way you want it done, because he wants to do it”. The most difficult clause in that sentence is the last one: ‘because he wants to do it’. And that is all about motivation.

So from Chapter 8, we find:

“If we then consider all this together it might successfully be argued that a full 50% of leadership comes down to motivation: the leader being motivated, motivating others, ensuring new recruits are motivated, sustaining motivation, motivating teams and so on. Thus contrary to what we expect, or what we typically experience, motivation is at the core of leadership; there is scarcely a more important area for the leader to master. But as we discussed in Chapter 1, its ambiguity is why it gets less attention and more avoidance than it should. The creation of Motivational Maps with its language and metrics is a step forward in reversing this trend.” ." [from Chapter Eight of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  https://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

This paragraph appears after Motivational Maps own model of leadership is unveiled and discussed; it is called the ‘4+1’ model and what it does is identify and analyse the four key skills of leadership plus the one personal quality that underpins their reality. I will say what this ‘4+1’ is in a moment, but the point to emphasise here is the fact that the analysis comes up with the astonishing fact that at least 50% of effective leadership is done to motivation. Indeed, it could be argued that some 60% of leadership is about motivation: motivating individuals, motivating teams, and ultimately motivating the whole organisation to move in a specific direction that correlates with the strategy. I have to emphasise this point because it is so counter-intuitive and so not what we read about in most of the literature. The conventional view is that the primary skill of a leader relates to clarity of vision – and I do not in any way wish undermine the importance of that fact, as the ‘4+1’ model makes clear – or related to the ability to implement systems. But the reality is, doing all things is good yet without motivation the engine – like the absence of fuel in a car – is simply not going to fire, not going to move.

And to add to the complexity of this situation: the book discusses in detail the psychological reasons – mainly to do with the avoidance of ambiguity – why leaders do not address issue. Why, instead, they pour over spreadsheets and forecasts and strategic plans, without actually contemplating getting a handle on the motivation issue. Well, the book outlines a brilliant solution to this, which I cannot cover in a brief blog. But as I promised, what about the ‘4+1” model?

The ‘4+1’ model puts forward the idea that there are four absolutely key skills a leader must master: one, Thinking skills which include vision and strategy; two, Doing skills, time management, recruitment and implementation; three, team building skills, which overtly involve motivational aspects; four, motivating skills, which involve communicating and engagement. In fact, all four skills are given a much deeper breakdown, and whereas the role of motivation in the process is evident in the team building and motivating components, there is also a hidden motivational component hidden in the Doing skill. But the ‘+1” is also key, for without it the other three wither on the vine: it is not a skill but is an ongoing commitment to Personal or Self-development. This is crucial for without it we are constantly, as leaders, trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s learning; we simply have to current.

For more on all this, take a look at the book. If you like this blog, you’ll love the book!

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