Let s say you ve diagnosed the cause and the other person can complete the task, but it s really horrible and tedious . Now what? It s your job to help remove the barrier . It s your job to help make it easy. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this. In fact, some people take pride in their ability to inspire others to complete noxious or tedious tasks . In truth:
There is no great honor in being a leader or parent who is able to encourage people to continually achieve the nearly impossible . It can be gratifying to be an effective motivator, but the best leaders don t simply inspire people to continue to do the gut wrenching, mind boggling, and noxious. They help people find ways to ease the gut wrenching, simplify the mind boggling, and nullify the noxious.
This is where influence masters truly shine . They see themselves as facilitators, enablers, and supporters, not armed guards or cheerleaders. This self-image may go further in separating the best from the rest than does any skill they actually possess. Skilled problem solvers take pride in helping others make things easy. It s part of their Golden Rule. It s what they do.
Less skilled and more controlling folks have a different view of their role. They get people to do whatever it takes at whatever the cost and then brag about their leadership prowess. For them, making other people s burdens less burdensome is a sign of weakness. The home version of this attitude isn t any more attractive ”for instance, getting your spouse to open up about a sensitive issue by piling on a truckload of guilt and manipulation. Why would anyone ever want to do such a thing? Because it s a power trip and some people love power more than they love relationships or even results.
Believing that it s praiseworthy to be able to compel people to complete tasks that are painful paints an intriguing yet counterintuitive picture of leadership. After all, human beings are forever finding ways to avoid pain and seek pleasure , not the other way around.
Distasteful tasks may be good for people at some level and it s true that employees are generally getting paid to do them, but if they re normal human beings, they re going to try to find a way to get out of dreadful jobs or at least make them easier. Don t most of us use automatic garage door openers, punch TV remote-control buttons , and open cans with a gadget of some kind? We don t need any of these things, but they make life easier.
It s important to make this distinction between necessity and convenience because we must be comfortable with the idea that it s okay for people to want to find an easier, more convenient way to do a job.
Desiring to get out of hard and noxious work doesn t reflect a character flaw; it s what smart people do.
When your 12-year-old son goes to great pains to invent an automatic back scratcher or cons his friends into pushing him around the mall in a wheelchair, you can view him as either lazy or creative. And when someone who works for you runs into an ability barrier where the job is difficult but not impossible, you can apply your motivation tools to inspire him to keep his nose to the grindstone. Or you can find a way to make the task easier. Or you can do both.
In this chapter we re going to look at how to make it easy. We already know how to motivate. And we re going to take pride in the fact that we re making it easy. It s the smart thing to do.