Lead, Motivate & Achieve Results

By Saundra Stroope

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make, organize, arrange, or manage him to drink it.

We’ve all heard the original common saying, meaning that you can give someone the opportunity to do something, but you can’t force them to if they really don’t want to. Vince Lombardi said, “Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.”

Falling into the Trap

Why is it that, so often, managers forget about this advice and fall into the traps of dictatorship or micromanagement? Well, for most of us, it’s easier to tell someone how, to show them how, or to just do it for them, than it is to truly master the art of understanding how to motivate them.


In fact, a five-year research study by Concept Reserve revealed that only 25% of managers are fully functioning in their manager role, which means a significant portion of them are still behaving like individual contributors.

Despite the challenge, it is important to master this skill as a leader at any level. Research at the University of Pennsylvania found that highly educated employees work more and are more productive when given autonomy over their schedules. In fact, they’ll even work to the point of exhaustion when given a choice.

The Cost of Turnover

After studying over 19,000 employees and the reasons they leave organizations, The Saratoga Institute also discovered that people must believe that they will be able to grow and develop skills on the job, that they will be recognized as valuable, and that they are competent and challenged in their role to stay engaged on the job.

The cost of turnover can be anywhere from two to two-hundred-and-fifty times an employee’s salary, depending on the level of technical skill that they bring to your business.

Stepping into the Role

Most leaders are well-intentioned, but stepping into a leadership role is more challenging than it may seem. Leaders at all levels can struggle to build a cohesive team and delegate effectively.


First of all, you typically get promoted because you are a great individual performer. It’s a difficult transition to step back and allow someone else to approach a job differently than you would, especially when you have the knowledge and expertise required to do the work and you’ve been recognized for it your entire career. You will also have to be flexible and willing to tolerate mistakes on occasion.

Trust and Responsibility

One of the best ways to build your credibility and trust as an exceptional leader is to get to know the individuals on your team, ask questions, or use a personality style assessment to better understand other strengths, communication styles, and motivators.

Then, establish clear team goals and values, delegate responsibility, and allow your team to learn from the experience. This calls for clear communication about boundaries and decision-making authority levels.

The payoff is worth it – you may even have more personal satisfaction with your own workload. It will allow you to devote more time to focus on your customers and the strategic growth of your business, leading to higher productivity for your team and better results for your business.

How Do You Achieve Results?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Saundra Stroope
Saundra Stroope
Saundra Stroope is an HR talent management leader and consultant with over 20 years of human capital experience within a variety of industries at award winning, global and Fortune 500 companies. She is the Chief Learning Officer at Small Business Owner University (SBOU) and a consultant with her own LLC and Executive Development Associates (EDA).
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