June 14, 2016
Leading With Motivation
The Amarillo community is brimming with generous volunteers, influential leaders and successful businesspeople. The people of Amarillo are what make our city unlike any other. With the AEDC guest blog posts, we hope to educate readers on our community as well as share valuable messages from Amarillo's key thinkers. This is a guest post by George Herring, Manager of Facilities and Site Support of the Amarillo Military Assembly and Delivery Center at Bell Helicopter.
“False motivation is still motivation!!” — my drill sergeant at Fort Knox
My drill sergeants were great motivational speakers. I couldn’t understand a lot of what they were saying because they were yelling it at me while I was doing push-ups, but I do remember being motivated. One philosophical gem I remember regarded motivation itself: False motivation is still motivation!
As a leader, your disposition sets the mood for everyone on the team. A good leader must be able to control his/her emotions and use those to inspire the team. In fact, a great leader can read the team’s mood and alter his/her disposition to feed the team what it needs.
A wise man once told me, “Every now and then you have to just flip out…. Just so they know you can.” As crazy as that sounds, I have employed that practice from time to time with great success.
Fortunately, motivation doesn’t have to come from screaming drill sergeants and flying hard hats. The foundation for motivation comes from 1. having a shared goal, 2. understanding your role on the team, and 3. believing that your role is critical.
Creating a shared goal for the team requires communication, communication and more communication. Bell Helicopter does an excellent job of providing its leaders with critical and timely information which is then shared with their teams. We know the goals and the challenges ahead of us, and we have a plan to get there.
Every team member plays a role in achieving that goal. A leader must avoid the trap of trying to play all the roles. If you tell your team member what to do and how to do it, you remove all motivation they might have. Instead, try telling them what you need and let them determine what needs to be done and how to do it. That is their role.
The third leg of the stool, (I changed from foundation to stool because foundations don’t have legs… try to keep up), is believing that what you do makes a difference. A motivated team member knows why their role is important and that there is a customer, either down the line or the final user, that is counting on them to successfully execute. Bell Helicopter refers to it has "purposeful execution," as opposed to success through benign neglect.
Granted, there are other forms of motivation, like the one that convinces you that rappelling off of a cliff to an almost certain death is somehow more reasonable than telling the drill sergeant behind you that you don’t feel like it. Fear and intimidation can be good motivators in boot camp, but they have no place in the business world.
My best advice is to challenge yourself to stay ahead of your team, but realize that they will almost always be a step ahead of you… and that is just where you want them to be.
George Herring is the Manager of Facilities and Site Support of the Amarillo Military Assembly and Delivery Center at Bell Helicopter. He has been with Bell for 13 years. George, an alumnus of Texas Tech University, serves as a liaison between the City of Amarillo/Amarillo EDC and Bell Helicopter.
Images courtesy of Bell Helicopter
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