Just read an excellent article on the Business Week site called The Era Of Inspiration which looked at the leaderships styles of Tom Coughlin (NY Giants Coach), Herb Kelleher (former chairman of Southwest Airlines), and Bill Marriott (CEO of Marriott). It discusses three different management styles: coercion, motivation, and inspiration.
Coughlin was considered an “autocratic tyrant,” but became more inclusive, creating a leadership council of 11 players. In effect, he shifted his style from coercion to inspiration. The changed paid off with a Superbowl championship.
The article also quoted Kelleher who was Southwest Airlines’ beloved leader:
If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control. They know what needs to be done and they do it. And the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need.
The article also makes the following key point:
Unlike coercion and motivation, the source of inspired conduct is intrinsic and internal. Inspired employees act on something they believe in; they are in the grip of ideas; they are compelled by a deeper purpose and propelled by values they hold fundamental.
My take: Inspiration is a fundamental part of good leadership; and it’s important that leaders instill a strong sense of purpose with their people.
The bottom line: Get your people do things because they want to, not because you want them to do it.