Where's The Incentive?

Kids respond well to incentives. We all do actually. I go to work every day because they incentivize it with money. I don’t drive 100 mph because they’d take my money away. A basic principle of economics is that our behavior is shaped by incentives and disincentives. 

As parents, we need to fully leverage this principle to our advantage. Some parents pay their kids an allowance to do chores, or mow the lawn. But is that truly what you desire them to do? They’ll become adults who take out trash and mow anyway. Don’t waste your money on that stuff. Instead invest your money getting them to do something extraordinary! 

For me, I deeply want my kids to read certain books that I pick out for them. Books like The Case for Christ, or Fearless, the story of Adam Brown. I pay my kids to read great books and discuss them with me, and I pay them for good grades on their report card, and learning a musical instrument.

Whether it’s exercising, reading, or practicing an instrument, incentivize them financially to do things that will make them better men and women. Incentivize them to greatness, not to eat broccoli.

Tenacity and Leadership

On October 24, 1915, the men abandoned ship and stacked their supplies on an iceberg. Hundreds of miles away from shipping routes or aid stations, their Captain, Ernest Shackleton, came up with a plan. They ultimately traveled over 1,000 miles of Arctic Ocean on floating ice and in small lifeboats. Once he made it to South Georgia Island, Shackleton walked 32 miles over mountains covered in snow and ice. Suffering frostbite, hunger, fatigue, and insurmountable odds, Shackleton saved his crew. He simply refused to quit.

We will probably never be in a position as harrowing as Shackleton’s, but the quality of tenacity is just as important. A good leader is one who holds fast during the storms, and refuses to quit even when the chips are down.

Maybe you feel like your marriage is sinking, or your business is struggling. Sometimes just the mundane, daily routine of going to work, and raising kids saps the life out of us. If you’re thinking about quitting, the strongest thing you can do is tell someone you need help. Even Shackleton relied on his crew. One of the most tenacious things a man can do is ask for help instead of giving up.

Respect and Leadership

We’ve all had a boss that we didn’t respect. Think about why you didn’t respect them. Maybe they were dishonest, rude, or arrogant. Maybe they were lazy or spineless. Whatever the reason might have been, if you didn’t respect them then they weren’t a good leader.

Think about the people in your life that you lead. Maybe it’s a team of employees, or maybe it’s your family. Do you show them respect? Do you respect their boundaries, personal space, and individual preferences? Or are you trying to make them do things the way you do, and keeping them from being unique individuals?

If you don’t show respect to others, then you aren’t worthy of theirs.

To be a good leader you also have to respect yourself. By taking care of your body with exercise and nutrition, and by standing up for what you believe, and not allowing people to trample your rights, you demonstrate by your actions that you respect yourself.

If you don’t respect yourself then neither will anyone else.

Respect is essential to leadership, and it must be earned as well as given, if we are to be leaders at work, and more importantly in our homes.