Patrick Lencioni is the author of "The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities" speaks to Andy Stanley about the inherent flaws in "Reward-centered leadership." Patrick brings forth principles presented in the book as Lencioni addresses leadership amid times of uncertainty and crisis when a leader’s motives are prominently on display.

"Without the right motives, you won’t be a healthy or effective leader." Patrick Lencioni

In this podcast episode, Patrick shares his interesting view of leadership roles as he discusses "Five Activities Reward-centered Leaders Avoid," as well as the "end of servant leadership."

Ouch! In this short podcast episode, Patrick's teaching is hard-hitting and right on, and no matter how hard it is to hear what he has to say, if you are a leader and you want to continue to grow and be effective, listen to what Patrick has to say.

Two Types of "Motivation" and Two Types of Leaders

Reward-centered Leaders: To a Reward-centered leader, leadership is personal, and it's clearly a reward "for all my hard work." So, the motivation of this leader is "ME!" It's all about ME!

The Reward-centered leader would most likely think, "I've been loyal, diligent, faithful, and now I DESERVE to be a leader! I've worked hard, and I sacrificed more than everyone else, and I served others selflessly until my fingers bleed, and, and... and now, after all of my sacrifice and service, I DESERVE to be rewarded with a leadership role with full authority! And, now, we do it my way, or it's the highway for you!"

Don't laugh; the majority of leaders are lumped into the Reward-centered group.

Responsibility-centered Leaders: For the Responsibility-centered leader, leadership is not personal, but it is all about personal responsibility and taking on the burden and duty to serve others regardless of the cost. To the Responsibility-centered leader, it's about mission and stewardship and selfless service towards others.

To the Responsibility-centered leader, everything is about the team and the community. There is a tough job to do, and this leader stands up, rolls up his/her sleeves, and gets to work.

The Responsibility-centered leader is all about doing the hard things, the necessary things, and the things that no one else wants to do, or quite frankly, can do.

The motivation behind these two very different leadership types is also very different, and they are not even close. The motivation behind the Responsibility-centered leader is clear; the motivation is to serve others selflessly.

"The motivation of the Responsibility-centered leader is demonstrated by behavior and repeatedly confirmed through their actions, which are mostly selfless."

What is a Responsibility-centered Parent? What Do They Look Like?

Every Christian parent wants to be a great mom or dad. It's innate and inherent within us to love and serve our families. But it's harder than that, and it's really hard to love and to serve our children. To be a great parent, one must "parent-on-purpose."

Being a great parent requires something of us; it's sometimes costly and hard. To be a great parent, we can't be a great friend to our children. Parenting requires someone to be an adult and take on the parenting role. Just because someone is a biological parent does not mean they are a parent. Great parenting is possible, but it requires a great deal.

Since someone has to set the standard which all others follow, why not you? If you willingly take on the responsibility to lead your family well, you will be a servant to all, but more importantly, you will be Responsibility-centered. It's all about being responsible.

If you want to be a great parent, be a responsibility-centered parent, and be willing to do whatever it takes to lead as a steward. Your children are not your own, and they are a gift from God. Therefore, take on the responsibility that God has given you as a parent, and lead.

Be the Christ-centered living example your children and family can proudly follow.

Reward-centered Leader Will Naturally Avoid the Following Activities or Responsibilities

First, to some degree, everyone is a Reward-centered leader at one time or another. Being a Reward-centered leader is a human thing. It comes naturally, but as good leaders, we need to resist being a Reward-centered leader and begin to lead from a selfless heart.

Meaning, we humans, each and every one of us, are flawed. Therefore, each one of us can relate to and understand the motivation behind the Reward-centered leader. Let's face it, our society not only supports the Reward-centered leader, but our society also preaches it and proclaims it, and our society has been built upon its notion.

The Reward-centered philosophy is taught and proclaimed throughout our culture and confirmed by every major human institution - "if you work hard and you persevere, you will eventually get rewarded if you don't get weary and if you don't quit too soon!"

On the other hand, the Responsibility-centered leader is motivated by something far greater than self - it's all about MISSION mixed with DUTY mixed with LOVE for others. As a matter of fact, the Responsibility-centered leader is the adult in the house and naturally steps up and takes on the hardest tasks, the ones that no one else wants to do or can do.

The Responsibility-centered leader will commit to the cause and commit to fulfilling the most meaningful but "boring" jobs, especially those that everyone else shies away from.

5 Hard Things That Reward-centered Leaders Avoid

1. Having hard conversations. Reward-centered leaders abdicate or delegate the hard conversations, mainly because they don't like to be uncomfortable. The Reward-centered leader expects and seeks comfort; after all, they've earned it, haven't they?

A great leader will ask themselves, "am I more interested in the outcome of working for this organization, or am I more interested in what I can get out of it (great experience with rewards) while delegating as much responsibility (real work and hard things) as possible?"

The Reward-centered leader will avoid the hard conversations and, instead, dole them out to subordinates. This leader wants to be friends with everyone and be liked by everyone. This group also includes the "Reward-centered parent."

The Reward-centered parent says, "I want to be a good leader and a good parent, but not at the expense of my comfort. I want my children to like me, and I don't want to feel uncomfortable. So, I will keep the peace and ignore my parental responsibilities."

Reward-centered parents do not want to have hard conversations with their children. Hence, they avoid them or abdicate their responsibility as a parent and somehow twist the unfortunate facts to feel self-justified about ditching their parental responsibility.

2. Actually Manage The People. Good leaders are good coaches. Managing people means engaging and interacting and working with "people" regardless of what they do (what they perform).

As good leaders, we are to take responsibility for our organization's overall outcome, or our department, or our team. Most likely, your organization or department is made up of "people," people who are responsible for delivering. Therefore, it is critical for leaders to continually engage with the people responsible for delivering the outcome.

Managing people is never beneath them; it's never boring and never tedious or a pain. To a good leader, being a leader has never been about them anyway.

A good leader doesn't even count the cost, and he/she loves to teach and train and guide and coach. To a good leader, people are always the priority.

At the very least, good leaders manage their people simply to encourage them and to cheer them on. If a leader refuses to manage the people that work for them, how on earth can they lead?

"Most Reward-centered leaders like being a leader, but they don't like working with people when it requires sacrifice and hard work."

Responsibility-centered leaders naturally know to lead their people simply because they are people. Meaning, instinctively, they know "people" are most important. Good leaders know they are accountable to the people and responsible for the outcome. So, it's probably best to manage your people well.

Responsibility-centered leaders engage and manage people regardless of how they feel about the person or the task.

Feelings or personal wants or selfish desires do not even come into play with the Responsibility-centered leaders. They lead because they've seen the responsibility and decide to take it on, to help fulfill the mission BY SERVING PEOPLE.

3. Reward-Centered Leaders avoid running great meetings: First of all, If we are honest with ourselves, we'd confirm that "most people" hate meetings in general. Unfortunately, meetings are absolutely necessary for any organization to expect even the basic level of success.

Great organizations invest in meetings because they know the value of building trust and respect between its members. Good organizations work hard to gain alignment with all participating principles because EVERYONE MATTERS. The intended outcome is to produce better results faster.

In the best interest of any organization, "meetings" are a must, an absolute must. Therefore meetings should be awesome, productive, tough, interesting, engaging, intense, challenging, fun, argumentative with debate.

And finally, great meetings should be exhausting because the outcome is worth fighting for (picture in your mind all the great meetings that produced the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution).

"Spirited debate and philosophical argument bring forth great results."

Many great leaders may hate meetings. However, they are too smart and too mature to let feelings get in the way. Great leaders know how valuable meetings are, so they invest everything into producing great meetings.

Remember, meetings don't run themselves, and the quality of any meeting is determined by the quality of the individuals present mixed with the willful engagement by the leader and participants.

4. Good leaders invest in people: Good leaders take the time to build their team. Good leaders make personal time and make the heart's personal investment into each of his/her team members.

Good leaders do what it takes to build authentic relationships with the team. Through personal engagement spiked with passion, great leaders empowering team members to excel through their contribution and find their ultimate purpose within the organization.

5. Great Leaders repeat themselves. Great leaders have no problem repeating the mission and the importance of the outcome of the mission. Great leaders will constantly remind their team of the values and the principles that make their organization great. Great leaders constantly remind the team about their purpose and the outcome they intend to create.

Great leaders keep their team focused on what is important by constantly pointing everyone back to the purpose and the mission outcome.

Please listen to Andy's podcast "Motivation of a Leader with Patrick Lencioni, Part 1"

Amid uncertainty and crisis, a leader’s motives are prominently on display. Without the right motives, you won’t be a healthy or effective leader.

More on Patrick Lencioni 

Patrick Lencioni’s inspiring stories, practical models, and actionable steps for organizational health, teamwork, leadership, and employee engagement have transformed individuals, teams, and companies worldwide. His compelling fables with powerful yet deceptively simple messages are written for anyone who strives to become an exceptional leader.

Year after year, Patrick Lencioni’s books continue to be a fixture on national bestseller lists, including notable publications as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. At long last, his 9 extraordinary books are available together in one limited edition box set.

The updated set includes:

  • The Five Temptations of a CEO, Tenth Anniversary Edition
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  • Death by Meeting
  • The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
  • The Truth About Employee Engagement
  • Silos, Politics and Turf Wars
  • Getting Naked
  • The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family
  • The Advantage
  • The Ideal Team Player