No Carrots. No Sticks.

carrot sticks

Traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance. But if you want engagement, self-direction works better.

– Dan Pink

Despite all we’ve learned about how horribly ineffective it is, we still tend to use the old carrot and stick method. What really motivates us and the people we lead? These four inner needs:

  • Fit: knowing how we belong; what we expect of ourselves, what others expect of us, and what we expect of others,
  • Autonomy: the freedom to do as we want,
  • Mastery: continuous improvement in our chosen craft, and
  • Meaning: contributing to something larger than ourselves.

You’ve probably guessed that it’s our job as leaders to help people achieve in these four ways. No carrots. No sticks.


In your corner,


PS: How? Start by asking about and listening to what each team member thinks is the gap between their current and desired fit, autonomy, mastery, and meaning.

HT to Dan Pink for pointing out 3 of these needs so succinctly.


Today’s photo credit: Angelina Earley cc

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