Motivation versus manipulation


The following is adapted from Zig Ziglar’s book, Something To Smile About, published by Thomas Nelson.

The word “motivation” is often confused with manipulation.

Motivation occurs when you persuade others to take an action in their own best interests. Things such as people preparing their homework, accepting responsibility for their performance, and finishing their education are the results of motivation.

Manipulation is persuading others to take an action that is primarily for your benefit. Things such as selling an inferior product at an inflated price and working people overtime with no extra pay are examples of manipulation.
Manipulation self-destructs the individual doing the manipulating. Word gets out on manipulators, and people grow less and less likely to respond in a positive manner to their manipulation. Productivity declines. Leadership occurs when you persuade a person to take an action that is in your mutual best interests.
Comparing motivation to manipulation is like comparing kindness to deceit. The difference is the intent of the person. Motivation will cause people to act out of free choice and desire, while manipulation often results in forced compliance. One is ethical and long lasting; the other is unethical and temporary.
Leaders and motivators are winners; manipulators are losers who produce resentment and discord. Become a motivator, lead your people, and don’t manipulate them.