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BY Joel Junker

Why You Lead Determines How Well You Lead

I recently came across an article from Harvard Business Review I thought I would share on this blog.  The article discusses a study examining the various reasons why individuals want to be leaders and how those reasons translate into how effective a leader they will be.   There are many reasons as to why someone wants to be a leader, some intrinsic such as the desire to serve others while other reasons may be extrinsic in nature such as promotional opportunities or better pay.  The assumption examined in the article is that those with the most reasons, both intrinsic and extrinsic should be the better leader because they have the most reasons to want to lead.   Below is an excerpt from the article:

“As one might predict, we found that those with internal, intrinsic motives performed better than those with external, instrumental rationales for their service — a common finding in studies of motivation. We were surprised to find, however, that those with both internal and external rationales proved to be worse investments as leaders than those with fewer, but predominantly internal, motivations. Adding external motives didn’t make leaders perform better — additional motivations reduced the selection to top leadership by more than 20%.  Thus, external motivations, even atop strong internal motivations, were leadership poison.”

At Cameron-Brooks, we see this study in action at our Career Conferences during candidate interviews.  Our client companies are not just looking for someone who can just get results and execute some type of an operation.  Rather, they want someone who can produce results but do it in the right way and make those around them better as well.  They want to know your leadership, what drives and motivates you, how do you develop, coach, and mentor others?  In Corporate America where companies are measured by profitability, revenue, earnings per share, etc. the best companies still want to find the right type of people and it is equally important to them why you lead as how you do it.  Below is the link to the entire article:


Rob Davis