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Carrots, Sticks and Building Teams


As a leader, you want to build an excellent team that is passionate, cares, works hard and takes ownership. With that goal in mind, you must be keenly aware of distinction between motivation and inspiration.

The problem that I see quite often is that leaders have team members that don’t care about the mission. They care about themselves, and not much more. The typical response of leaders to that problem are carrots and sticks……outward rewards and punishments. It includes everything from acknowledgement of a good job to gift cards to bonuses to raises in salary. It could also include reprimands, scolding, removal of privileges, unpaid time off, and reductions of pay and loss of bonus.

You can produce short-lived results with carrots and the sticks. However, if your team is motivated by carrots and sticks, once you remove the motivators, the performance leaves as well. Please understand that I am not opposed to carrots, and even sticks at times to help a team member break a bad habit or focus on a positive change. They are just not effective in producing sustainable change.

Winning teams are comprised of members who embrace the mission and values of the organization. Their leaders only recruit people who get it. The ideal team member embraces the mission because they GET the mission, WANT to achieve the mission, and have the CAPACITY to fulfill a role in accomplishing the mission. In a word, you could say that they are inspired. Though they need to be fairly compensated and should also be acknowledged for doing a good job, they continue in their work from an inner sense of purpose and commitment. Their accountability is primarily to their conscious and personal values.

If you will engage in the challenging work of attracting and coaching the right team members, the synergy and results will be amazing. The first challenge is for you to become the leader that will attract, inspire and effectively coach such a team. If you want to lead at that level, I would love to help you. Let’s have a conversation.



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