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Followers and Ideas

 

Disciplines > Leadership > Followership > Followers and Ideas

Objectives as instructions | Objectives as ideas | Ideas as inspiration | See also

 

People will follow an idea, but not constraining objectives, then I may do it, but not in a way that makes me want to follow you.

Objectives as instructions

Objectives are useful in most organizations, of course, but they are often presented as fixed instructions, telling people what to do and how to do it in so much detail that it leaves little to the imagination.

Objectives in this sense become prisons, constraining people in mental straitjackets that prevent them from independent thinking. This is not a very motivating situation, and leads either to taciturn compliance or outright rebellion.

Even when not so tightly constrained, objectives are a management tool rather than something that leaders rely on as a primary source of motivation.

Objectives as ideas

Objectives can be used to motivate and leaders can make effective use of formal systems of objective-setting to provide effective challenge and stimulation that will motivate people not only to do the work but also to follow the leader.

The trick with motivating objectives is to make them broad enough and with enough scope that people feel a sense of excitement and challenge.

When I am faced with a challenging objective and where I am given just enough resource to do the job, then I will be motivated to take up the baton and will feel a strong sense of achievement when I complete it.

Ideas as inspiration

Inspiration occurs when an idea both aligns with my values and also gives me a sense of possibility, of what is not now but which could be in the future. It might thus change my beliefs and mental models.

Ideas typically cause initial confusion followed by a pleasurable 'aha' experience. An ongoing tension is then created with a motivating gap between the now of no idea implemented and the desirable future of the idea happening.

Ideas are thus vectors that provide force and direction, motivating people to follow in the direction of the idea.

See also

Tension principle, Contrast principle

 

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