Volume 28, July 2003: Pride in Work

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2003 ISSN # 1545-8873

“What do you have without pride in work? Just a job, to get some money.” — W. Edwards Deming

“The desire to do something, much less to do it well, cannot be imposed.” — Alfie Kohn

“People become motivated when you guide them to the source of their power.” — Anita Roddick

“And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame; But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star, shall draw the Thing … ” — Rudyard Kipling

“If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy?” — Mihaly Csikszentmihaly


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Other Useful Benchmarks
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Restoring pride in workmanship – knowing that work is inspired not by economics, but by emotions.
  • Giving people meaningful work to do. Connecting that work to the bigger picture.
  • Respecting that everyone has a place and helping people find that place. (Sometimes that place is not in your organization.) Letting people know their work matters.
  • Creating engagement with employees as allies.
  • Cultivating work communities.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

First instill pride in yourself. Are your ambitions set high enough? Are you tracking on your purpose? Are you a person of character: demonstrating integrity, respect, commitment to the success of others? Would your family and friends be proud?

There is a difference between self-serving pride – the kind that collapsed Enron and others – and organization-building pride. It is a shift in focus from me to WE.

Become a pride-builder: a leader who instills self-esteem in workers by inspiration, recognizing talent, speaking to the importance of their results, and aligning personal and organizational values.

Frequently Asked Questions

“What really motivates people? Where does pride come from?”
Well, what really motivates you about your work? Rank these:
  • ___ Recognition
  • ___ The opportunity to contribute, to serve, to produce quality
  • ___ Status
  • ___ A paycheck
  • ___ Feeling part of a team
  • ___ The opportunity to learn, advance and grow
  • ___ Benefits
  • ___ Self-esteem
  • ___ Feeling your work is important
  • ___ Freedom for creative expression
  • ___ The chance to do things you do best, feel good about

Most employee surveys rank extrinsic motivators (coming from without) as inferior to intrinsic ones (doing something for the sheer pleasure of it).

“We have worked hard to make office space nice, have dress-down days, provide ample training, flexible hours, and the list goes on. Why do I feel like this makes no difference?”
Frederick Hertzberg separated hygiene factors (working conditions, supervision, salary, status, working relationships) from motivation factors (achievement, recognition, responsibility, the work itself). He held that the first group were “satisfiers” and you would hear dissatisfaction if they were absent. The latter he termed “motivators” – the true human fuel for excellence.
“I have heard this idea that “pay is not a motivator.” How can that possibly be true?”
Alfie Kohn echoed the beliefs of Deming – that pay does not enhance performance. What they meant was to pay people generously and equitably, then do everything to get money out of their minds. If people are motivated solely by rewards, they: play it safe, hide mistakes, don’t ask for help, therefore never learn. They feel manipulated – the carrot has now become a stick. Studies indicate that pay is a motivator only when people perceive they are underpaid. But then pay, when adjusted, does not increase productivity – just satisfaction.
“How do you get the intrinsic supercharge?”
You can buy people’s hands but not their hearts. Think of all the push strategies you have used: compliance, standards, intimidation, negotiation, coercion, manipulation, arbitrary numerical quotas. And what you got. The emotional energy comes from pull strategies: leading, modeling, education, stories, teamwork, celebration, feedback, choice, vision, inspiration. “I see you running this company someday.” Empowerment comes from relationships, not things.


Learn about Pride in Work and Motivation in our Leadership course: The New Leadership: Spirit & Integrity

Business training videos on leadership and empowerment: Training ABC

Workforce empowerment training resources: Employee Empowerment Training.

Other Useful Benchmarks

Benchmark the Biggies:

  • Aramark
  • General Motors
  • Home Depot
  • Marines
  • Marriott
  • McDonalds
  • Microsoft
  • NASA
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Toyota


  • Bern, John A. “How to Lead Now: Getting Extraordinary Performance When You Can’t Pay For It.” Fast Company, August 2003, pp. 62-70.
  • Buckingham, Marcus & Clifton, Donald O. Now, Discover your Strengths. Free Press, 2001
  • Byham, William C. Zapp: The Lightning of Empowerment. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1988.
  • Campbell, Duncan. “To Reward or Not? On What Truly Motivates People and Why.” At Work, Nov/Dec 1997, p. 21.
  • Csikszentmihaly, Mihaly. “If We Are So Rich, Why Aren’t We Happy?” American Psychologist,October, 1999, pp. 821-827.
  • Deci, Edward L. Why WE Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation.Penguin Books, 1996.
  • Katzenbach. Why Pride Matters More Than Money. Crown Business, 2003.
  • General Motors “Pride-Builder Program”
  • Hertzberg, Frederick. One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees? Harvard Business Review, Sept. – Oct. 1987, 109-120.
  • Holpp, Lawrence. “Applied Empowerment.” Training, Feb. 1994, 31(2), 39-44.
  • Kaye, Beverly and Jordan-Evans, Sharon. Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay. Berrett-Koehler, 1999.
  • Kohn, Alfie. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes.Hoghton-Miflin, 1993.
  • Oakley, Ed. & Krug, Doug. Enlightened Leadership. Stonetree, 1991.
  • Richards, Dick. Artful Work: Awakening Joy, Meaning, and Commitment in the Workplace. Berrett-Koehler, 1995.
  • Sansone, Carol & Harackiewicz, Judith M. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: The Search for Optimal Motivation and Performance. Academic Press, 2000.
  • Spitzer, Dean. “How to Reduce the Demotivators in Your Organization.” The 1997 McGraw -Hill Team & Organization Development Sourcebook. McGraw-Hill, 1997.
  • Thomas, Ken. Intrinsic Motivation at Work: Building Energy and Commitment. Berrett- Koehler, 2003.


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