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                output and in this environment, this is why intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is key.
In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek states motivation is manipulation and manipulation doesn’t breed loyalty.3 But I argue manipulation
can breed loyalty. Think about criminals and extremist organizations. They effectively target an individual at the core using psychological tactics. These groomers or recruiters delve into the mind
of an individual and give them the purpose to act, typically against that individual’s own interests. At times these individuals believe to the utmost degree that their actions are for a worthy cause. This extreme presents a negative condition for society, but I argue manipulation is a neutral term and can be used for good.
Napoleon Bonaparte was quoted saying “A Soldier will fight long and hard for a piece of colored ribbon”. This ribbon was designed as a
part of a system to honor his men who displayed qualities that he hoped the remainder would follow. Due to the effectiveness of this system,
we still use it today. As leaders, these awards
cost us literally nothing, but by recognizing an individual, we are validating one’s contribution while simultaneously hoping that this will spur others to contribute more to the mission. As leaders, we also address deficiencies. When we
do, we can use multiple methods to confront an individual but I will focus on an aggressive direct confrontation or a nonaggressive confrontation. By using the former, some may react positively and execute recommendations immediately. But then there others who become defensive or depressive and mentally shut down. On the other hand,
you can start off with a compliment to elevate
an individual’s confidence and then address him with the deficiencies, thus making it easier for that individual to accept that criticism, but when using a softer tone, you yourself can be manipulated. Keep in mind, your technique should vary based on your understanding of that person and even their current state of mind. Both examples are forms of manipulation and influence an individual’s choices and actions. Both you and I could continue to think of an abundance of ways we use manipulation
on a daily basis, but to say you manipulate
others is taboo in our society due to the negative connotation. We should recognize manipulation
as a part of our daily lives and that it is critical to shaping common situations.
The human mind is an incredibly complex organism which thinks and reacts in an infinite number of ways. Inspiration can be realized in an instant for some or it can be a drawn out process for others. How an individual reacts to stimuli
can be based off their present mindset, how well
a purpose is communicated, or an external factor which ignites an internal sense of purpose. We in the military often think that we understand society and the people in it, but we often don’t. We live
in a bubble, just like every sub culture within our nation. Those who are most successful at inspiring and motivating others are able to harness their understanding of various sub cultures and they
link those commonalities. Then they are able to motivate others through the duplication of efforts. They target the centers of gravity or those who are the most influential among a group. Identify, target, and mold these individuals to fortify your talking points. These key individuals remain imbedded and are tools to increase your talking points within the group due to personal legitimacy stemming from shared commonalities and struggles. Find that person who has this gift to motivate and inspire and study him/her, learn from them, and apply those techniques in your life.
Last, the Army is a people business4 and
for us to produce and retain the best, we have
to understand the core thought process of one another. This whole of organization approach can’t solely rely on leadership to preach the idea
of commitment. Individuals at all levels must understand and believe in the cause that they are representing. If our authenticity about what we do can spark desire in at least one other individual, they too can serve as a conduit and lead to the commitment of others. This is all an uphill battle, but if we remain consistent with patience and take the time to build and maintain this mindset, then I am confident that attrition rates will decrease and we’ll have a more dedicated force.
CPT Elliot Freeman is the Commander of Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Infantry Brigade.
    3) Ibid
4) Headquarters Department of the U.S. Army, The Army People Strategy. US Army 2019
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