Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman asked:
Are you a leader trying to get your coworkers to change?
Then you need to be aware of a basic motivational, psychological truth.
People only change when they WANT to.
It’s like the little prospector who walked into a saloon, wearing clean new shoes. A big Texan said to his friend standing at the bar, “Watch me make this dude dance.” He walked over to the prospector and asked, “You’re a foreigner, aren’t you? From the East?”
“You might say that,” the little prospector answered. “I’m from Boston, and I’m here prospecting for gold.”
“Now tell me something. Can you dance?”
“No sir. I never did learn to dance.”
“Well, I’m going to teach you. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can learn.”
With that, the Texan took out his gun and started shooting at the prospector’s feet. Hopping, skipping, jumping, the little prospector was shaking like a leaf.
About an hour later the Texan left the saloon. As soon as he stepped outside the door, he heard a click. He looked around and there, four feet from his head, was a shotgun in the hands of the little prospector.
The prospector said, “Mr. Texan, have you ever kissed a mule?”
“No,” said the quick-thinking Texan, “but I’ve always wanted to.”
Obviously, the prospector knew how to pump up the Texan’s WANT-TO cooperation factor. So what can you do to increase your employees’ “WANT-TO” factor?
Leadership and Motivation Training Strategy # 1: Ask brave questions.
If you’re not interested in your employees, you can’t expect them to be interested in you and your organizational goals. But if you show a real interest, they’ll move in your direction. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two weeks by showing interest in others than you can in two years trying to get others interested in you.”
One of the best ways to show interest is to ask more “Brave Questions.” Ask your employees:
What’s most important to you when it comes to your job, your family, your goals, or your future?
If you were leading this team, what changes would you make?
What turns on your motivation, more than anything else?
Remember, superficiality does not communicate genuine interest or pump up another person’s WANT-To factor. You’ve got to really care about the other person, and that comes through when you ask Brave Questions.
Leadership and Motivation Strategy # 2: Be likeable.
Simply put, people tend to follow people they like. And the more your employees like you, the more you pump up their WANT-TO factor.
Direct sales organizations have tapped into this principle with great success. Just think about the selling power of the Mary Kay or Tastefully Simple organizations. The home-party attendees aren’t being sold a product by some anonymous salesperson. They’re buying a product from a friend they know, like, and trust.
So ask yourself…
How likeable are you… really?
Would you like to do business with a person who acts just like you?
Do you use a warm, inviting tone and smile with ease? Or do you exhibit a hurried sense of impatience?
Do you listen with undivided attention, or do you glance at your desk and computer screen while a coworker is talking?
Leadership & Motivation Strategy #3: Exhibit authority
Before people can have a healthy want-to-cooperate factor, they’ve got to trust you and your integrity. In fact, from my 25 years of speaking experience in the corporate world, I discovered one of the most sought-after job perks today is integrity.
Here’s how you can exhibit your integrity and your authority…
Let people know about your educational background, certifications, and legitimate titles, but let them know in subtle ways. No boasting, bragging, or arrogance. When your employees know these kinds of things about you, it increases their respect for what you say and what you are requesting.
Refer to what other colleagues and customers have to say about your work. Again, be subtle. It’s a known truth that others can brag about your performance whereas you can’t and still be liked.
Make a conscious effort to dress one or two levels above those you are trying to influence. If you dress higher than that, your employees may not think you can identify with them. And if you dress below your employees, they may not take you seriously.
Dress in clothing styles and colors typically associated with authority like black, navy, or white. Research shows it does make a difference.
There’s just one caution. You can’t exhibit so much authority that people are afraid to challenge you. That would violate the second principle of “being likeable.” And that does happen.
Do you want someone to change?
To follow you?
To be more cooperative?
Then it all starts when they WANT-TO. And they will WANT-TO… if you follow these three simple leadership and motivation training practices.