There seems to be a lot of talk now-a-days about motivating crew to get the most out of them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about what exactly motivation is and how a leader can create it.

respect_is_Earned_not_givenThe general consensus is that if a leader offers a reward or prize to encourage a particular behaviour from followers, motivation is created, and followers will behave differently forever. Sadly, this idea is incorrect. While it’s true, offering a reward is a form of external motivation; studies clearly show no long term benefit for either followers or an organization from external motivation.

External motivation is recognized as a form of reward or punishment in exchange for specific actions. The motivation may include the tip at the end of the charter, an employee-of-the-month program, or conversely, removing some perks for poor performance. The critical point to understand with external motivation is that it does not create a long term effect for changing behaviour. Behaviour changes only as long as a reward or punishment is being held ransom for behaving a particular way.

RespectInternal motivation comes from “within” and has to do with the joy or fulfillment a certain job or task gives the person, rather than achieving a specific reward. Internal motivation can also simply be the personal satisfaction derived from doing the activity, or an internal drive to accomplish a certain goal.

Studies show that the behaviour of an individual will only change through their own conscious decision.  This means leaders can only have indirect influence on the motivation of others, rather than direct control over how a follower behaves.

Establishing engagement in followers creates the conditions where people become internally motivated. It is through the indirect method of creating engagement which develops motivation in others.

Fortunately, Dr. Paul Marciano has developed the RESPECT model of seven behaviours which leaders need to display in order to create engagement in others.  It is up to leaders to put the model into action. Doing so will influence an employee’s internal assessment of the respect they feel directed towards them and their subsequent level of engagement in an organization.


Recognition and PraiseFollowers in your organization must be individually recognized for specific achievements they have made for the organization. Recognizing a group for a job well done is more harmful than helpful as the actual contributors are not getting the individual praise they deserve. Another key to recognition is that it must be done in a public way where others see praise being given. Public praise lets others know how they should behave.


Leaders must provide followers with the tools, resources, and training to succeed. Empowerment includes giving followers autonomy as well as encouragement to take risks. Leaders need to ensure that followers are equipped to succeed, not fail.

Supportive feedback

bill-gates-feedback-quoteLeaders should provide followers with timely, specific feedback in a supportive, sincere, and constructive manner. Feedback is delivered for the purpose of reinforcement and improvement—never to embarrass or punish. Providing ongoing supportive feedback lets employees know that you care about their performance and success.


Treat followers as business partners and encourage active collaboration in organizational decisions. Followers are not mindless machines. Treat followers as equals to get their full input into the organization. Followers then become truly invested.


Leaders must ensure that all goals, objectives, and priorities are clearly laid out and communicated. Employees then know precisely the standards by which their performance is evaluated and understand how they are held accountable for meeting their performance expectations. The most common reason that employees fail to meet performance expectations is that those expectations were never made clear in the first place. Supervisors who get frustrated with employees for not performing as anticipated have often failed to set clear expectations.


Consideration“No one cares what you know until they know how much you care” are sage words from John Maxwell and are absolutely true. Treating employees with care and consideration impacts their feeling of being respected and their subsequent engagement in numerous ways. Most critically, supervisors who demonstrate high levels of consideration build employee loyalty, which reduces turnover.


Trust is critical to everything we do in life. Leaders must demonstrate trust and confidence in followers’ skills and abilities. Followers need to be able to trust that their supervisor will do right by them. Leaders have the burden of responsibility to be the first to extend trust in order to grow trust. One way leaders can build trust is to keep their promises and commitments.

Remember, RESPECT is the way a leader must behave and is intended to change the culture of your organization from the top down.

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