A few months ago I wrote about Project Management vs. Project Leadership. The dichotomy wasn’t perfect, but it can be informative. There’s also more to discuss. One thing that wasn’t considered in that original post was the relationship between a supervisor and the employees as intrinsic or extrinsically motivated individuals. In Daniel H. Pink’s Book, Drive he discusses how this difference impacts performance.
Extrinsically motivated individuals looks for external stimulus (positive or negative) in order to induce action. These are often seen as the carrot or the stick, and so much of our society is based on the idea that humans are sedentary and the only way to get them to do things is with either a promised reward or punishment.
Intrinsically motivated individuals are self-motivated. They like to solve the problems and puzzles in front of them for the sake of solving the puzzles. Daniel makes a compelling case for suggesting that we’re all naturally intrinsic beings who learn to be extrinsic based upon our experiences and in contrast to our nature.
An intrinsically motivated individual is going to respond to a project leader. An extrinsically motivated individual is going to respond to a project manager.
If it is in our nature to all be intrinsically motivated and we’ve only surprised this at some point then it would make sense that this intrinsic self of ours could be reinvigorated through the practice of project leadership.