Not about the "how" but rather the "why" of leadership (The Motive van Patrick Lencioni)

Patrick Lencioni

Many books have been written, including by Patrick Lencioni himself, on how leaders can lead to make and keep their organisation as healthy as possible. Yet Lencioni realises that despite all the literature, best practices and tips & tricks, not every leader succeeds in achieving a healthy organisation. Lencioni went looking for the reason for this and arrived at an individual's motives for becoming a leader.

Lencioni focuses on 2 fundamental motives why someone takes up a leadership role

  1. Service - The belief that leadership is a responsibility and therefore an experience that involves difficulties and challenges. The role of leadership is one of serving and guiding.
  2. Reward - Leadership as an award for years of hard work. Role of leader is attractive and taken up by the attention, status, power and money that comes with it.

When leaders lead motivated by personal rewards, they will ignore the unpleasant situations and activities associated with leadership. Above all, they want their role to be easy, convenient, situated and fun. Responsibilities that lie solely with the leader will therefore not be taken up, leading to a lack of direction, guidance and protection among the people they lead. In the long run, the entire organisation will suffer.

We briefly list the 5 most common responsibilities that a reward-centred leader will ignore.

  • Developing the leadership team: often delegated by the leader to HR. If the leader of the leadership team does not recognise that developing the team is important, then the leadership team will not propagate this to their teams. The teams will not work effectively as a result.
  • Managing his or her team: managing managers, on an individual level, reporting to them is often a struggle for reward-based leaders. Managing subordinates is about giving direction, aligning with the executive team, identifying potential and obstacles, coaching them as leaders so that they too can succeed as leaders in their team. Trusting your team is no excuse for not coaching them. An often heard excuse here is that the leader does not want to micro-manage but mentoring is far from micro-managing.
  • Engage in difficult and uncomfortable conversations: naming issues within his/her team and in the organisation. Every leader has moments he/she would rather avoid but it is precisely these moments that make a difference to the success of your organisation.
  • Leading a good meeting: meetings remain the most unpopular activity in a company. Yet meetings are the setting and arena where leaders make important decisions about budget, strategy, vision, focus, priority, ... Can there be a more critical, central and necessary activity in an organisation than a meeting?
  • Constant and repeated communication to employees: the amount of communication necessary to get a message across is too often underestimated. Studies say a message needs to be heard up to 7 times by employees before they believe their leadership team is serious about it. The CEO becomes CRO = Chief Reminding Officer.


Leadership is the ability to mobilise the various talents within a group or organisation in order to achieve ambitious, but real results. Effective leadership can be developed by providing the right tools to analyse current leadership strengths and by giving support and coaching.
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