Tips for Effective Leadership
Don’t Worry About Pay
by Wolf Rinke

Effective leaders have the guts to look at what others do …
and do something different.

While managers believe that money is a top motivator, it really doesn’t encourage employees to put forth their best efforts. Research tells us that pay will achieve two objectives: it will insure that employees will come to work and stay with your company. Certainly nothing to complain about, however not peak performance.

To get that, I suggest that you stick to the following 13 rules:

Rule #1: Stimulate internal motivation: Want peak performance? Forget money and focus on stimulating internal motivation --- which comes about when employees have something to be passionate about and when you have built a positive organizational culture.

Rule #2: Tie rewards to performance: What you reward is what you get. So if you want high performance then your high performers should be rewarded differently from your low performers. And if you want teamwork then you must reward team players…. And so on.

Rule #3: Tie rewards to individual preferences: Because every employee has different needs and wants it’s important to know your employees — and know what gets them motivated. How do you find that out? You ask them!

Rule #4: Do it in public: Whenever possible recognize team members in front of their colleagues. In fact, here are two practices you should always adhere to: Punish in private, and reward in public.

Rule #5: Be fair: There are no secrets in organizations! Pleazzze read that again, because there aren’t too many absolutes that I know about. But more importantly, leaders all over the world haven’t figured this out. They keep spending an inordinate amount of energy trying to keep organizational stuff secret.

Rule #6: Do it in a timely manner: Receiving a reward or recognition six months after a team member has gone the extra mile loses its impact. So do it now. And don’t worry if not all employees are present. It’s far better to get the recognition one-on-one, instead not at all.

Rule #7: Be specific: When recognizing team members in public, be very clear about what is being rewarded or recognized. That level of specificity allows other team members to emulate the right behavior and increases the probability that similar actions will be repeated.

Rule #8: Do it randomly: You are violating this rule if employees get upset every time you are not rewarding them. Recognizing team members randomly causes the desired behaviors to be more likely repeated and reduces the WIIFM—what’s in it for me—entitlement effect.

Rule #9: Tell stories: Get extra mileage out of your rewards and recognitions by becoming a storyteller. Telling stories about “Sue” went the extra mile to insure that the customer got the order in time to meet a critical deadline helps employees internalize what’s important, and begins to shape behavior and performance more effectively than even the best policy you have ever written, or the most powerful statistics you have ever presented.

Rule #10: Recognize three-quarters of all employees: Two common dilemmas leaders face is that those who do not receive a reward get jealous, or the same people get recognized all the time and the others give up. Either way it means that you are being too stingy. Your goal should be to reward or recognize at least three-quarters of all your employees over the course of a year. That way all team members are more likely to continue to strive for peak performance.

Rule #11: Offer lots of variety: Since it is difficult to adhere to Rule#3, and since once a reward is received it becomes an expectation, introduce lots of variety all of the time.

Rule #12: Get employees involved: This rule saves you lots of time and increases your leadership effectiveness dramatically. Get in the habit of always pushing decisions down to the lowest level especially when you are about to make a decision that directly impacts on employees’ welfare.

Rule #13: Keep team members juiced: You must provide people with external motivation if you want them to consistently perform at peak performance. Hire a motivational speaker to thank the troops for a job well done. Or show a motivational videotape during your next training session. Your team members will be positively surprised and at the same time master strategies that will enable them, and your company, to succeed faster.


Dr. Wolf J. Rinke is a management consultant, executive coach and keynote speaker dedicated to helping organizations and individuals maximize their potential. In addition to his new book Don't Oil the Squeaky Wheel … and 19 Other Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness (McGraw-Hill, May 2004), he is the author of several other best-selling books including Winning Management: 6 Fail-Safe Strategies for Building High-Performance Organizations. Rinke can be reached at 800-828-9653, WolfRinke@aol.com or www.WolfRinke.com .

Don't Oil the Squeaky Wheel:
And 19 Other Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness
by Wolf J. Rinke
McGraw-Hill
May 2004

Media Contact: Cindy Kazan: 414.352.3535; cindy@communik-pr.com .

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Copyright 2005 by Wolf J. Rinke. All rights reserved.

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