Carrrot or Stick? Part 1

If you are a leader, aspiring to lead or have a boss you probably get my drift already just by glancing at the title of this article.  These two tools, Carrot and Sticks, are in everyone’s quiver.  The art lies in how to use them, when to use them and where to use them.  This art is a unique balance that The Flying Wallendas couldn’t teach.  My humble attempt to point us in the right direction can be found in two phenomenal books.  Those books are The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.  These two books match the spirituality and science that can help guide us all.

Let’s start with the Stick.  It’s the easiest tool to use.  We can all take the influence we have over a subordinate, child, relative or friend and lose regardless of right or wrong.  It takes little effort to resort to discipline.  The odd thing is that discipline doesn’t always show its face in wrath, anger or the termination of an employee or relationships.  It often surfaces in rules, policies and procedures in the work place.  A large portion of the Rules, Policies and Procedures are developed by folks that have decided not to lead.

Now, before you cast me out assuming my comments are those of the cupcake culture which blames others, organizations and society, give me just a few more sentence to explain what I don’t mean.   I DO NOT mean that rules, policies and procedures are unnecessary to shape a culture.  Regrettably all rules, policies and procedures come from mistakes.  Mistakes of unimaginable severity resulting in untold loss.  So, by all means, we need the rules and we should follow them.  I DO NOT mean you should avoid terminating a relationship or the employment of/with the immoral, unethical or illegal actions of another or group.  I’m talking to and about the folks that grab the stick first.  The micro-managers the perfectionist the folks that believe there are 3 ways to do things…  The right way the wrong way and MY way.  These folks are the ones described by John Maxwell as Level 1 Leaders.

Level 1 Leaders are leaders by position only.  I myself have been level 1 leader using rules and temperament to get my way.  I am certain it never inspired anyone and probably hurt relationships if anything.  If you’re looking for more evidence that humans struggle with rules look no further than the name of a 7th century BC Athenian law maker named Draco.  Draco wrote laws that created harsh punishment for simple infractions.  That was up until his untimely demise where he was killed or exiled because people got fed up.  However, because of this 7th century Athenian we have the term Draconian.

We refer to rules we do not agree with Draconian in nature.  I personally do not want to leave a legacy akin to the one left by ole Draco.  So, to sum up part one of Carrot or the Stick….  Do not use the stick to motivate others.  Dale Carnage said it best, “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still”.

To change things, you must be on the front line.  Influence, true influence, comes from your love or serving others.  To lead them you have got to love them and we will work on that in part 2 leveraging Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages.

by Mlstros (Flickr)

by Mlstros (Flickr)

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