Excerpt from So, You Want to Be a Leader by William F. Merck II

January 12, 2023


William F. Merck II, Author, Leader, Speaker

by William F. Merck II

On Book Excerpts | Leadership
Motivation inspires people to pursue their dreams, see purpose in their lives, and find success. If you keep this in mind, you will have made their jobs into careers.
There are two interesting motivator sets that drive behavior. You’ll find these evident in leaders of governments and organizations and in individuals in their everyday decisions. The first set I term “greed and ego” and the second, “position and power.” These phenomena are powerfully addictive stimulants. They cause wars and they cause personal catastrophes.

You will be tempted by the siren call of these stimulants. Be aware and succumb at your peril. Don’t be surprised when you are exposed to individuals exhibiting these behaviors in the workplace. They may be on your team, they may be your boss, they may be in your peer group. The effects of these behaviors will vary in intensity and manifest themselves in many ways. However, just recognizing these destructive behaviors is the first step in thinking through how to best protect yourself and your team so you can continue to advance towards your goals.

What’s in It For Me?

You are pointing out the direction and engaging others to follow you. But what are some of the reasons people may be reluctant to follow? What can be done to mitigate that resistance? First, you must be able to present a clear and compelling story as to why the particular direction was chosen.

  • Does your staff understand the objective?
  • Why is it worthy of their effort?
  • Will it inspire a desire to be included in the effort?
  • Have you answered their desire to know “what’s in it for me?”

Many people are insecure. When you propose a project that is new and different, people may wonder if they can measure up to the requirements that will be placed upon them. If they are unsure, then they may worry that they will perform poorly and, as a result, lose their much-needed jobs. This leads to reluctance to support some scary new undertaking. They may express opposition to the plan and spread their misgivings to others.

Sometimes, questions of doubt provide a dose of reality.

Anticipate this reaction and, in your presentation, provide assurance that everyone is in this together. Explain how you’ll be navigating potentially unfamiliar waters but, together, you will figure out how to meet the challenge and succeed. However, this is only a start. Not everyone will buy in right away.

As the project begins, don’t exclude the insecure or disgruntled members of the team from meetings. They will bring up issues that others, who are on the fence wondering about the same thing, are reluctant to bring up. That quiet group will be glad someone else mentioned what was on their minds so it can be discussed.

Here is an opportunity for you to weigh in with your thoughts on the subject. Take care to alleviate any tension that has been brought into the open. Sometimes, questions of doubt provide a dose of reality to the discussions. Consider any doubters on the team as allies and encourage them to keep asking the tough questions.

Excerpt from So, You Want to Be a Leader by William F. Merck II

While pay is certainly important, there are other factors that motivate people.

At one time or another, you may have seen a list of factors that motivate you in your work. I will list some that are commonly mentioned to see if you agree. While pay is certainly important, there are other factors that motivate people to give their best effort. Some might even have a higher priority than salary. Let me clarify that compensation will not top the list as long as basic needs to survive are being met.

So, being paid enough to live comfortably always comes first. If someone isn’t being paid enough, then this may well trump any other motivating factors.

If you would like to explore this concept and more on the topic of leadership, please consider reading my book, So, You Want to Be a Leader.


So, You Want to Be a LEADER

Being a leader is not easy for anyone. Thankfully, this book transforms more than a half-century of leadership experiences into a practical handbook for those looking to excel in leadership roles. In candid fashion, So, You Want to Be a Leader: Secrets of a Lifetime of Success, reveals what works—along with an unvarnished examination of what doesn’t—in a myriad of work-related situations.

On Leadership



BREADCRUMBS: Finding a Philosophy of Life

In Bill’s new book released on March 14, 2023, the author uses stories from his life’s journey to illustrate points in time that helped form his view of the world and his place in it. From growing up in Southern Georgia in the 1940s, to becoming a military officer and a corporate leader, he discovers a nexus between early feelings and subsequent notions and beliefs.

On Philosophy