Back to Blog

PUSH Leadership vs. PULL Leadership

PUSH Leadership vs. PULL Leadership; The stats over the past 15 years speak for themselves…

Interdependency is key to drive innovation through collective contribution, where team members are ‘pulled’ along together influenced by a strong sense of shared purpose. 

One thing is abundantly clear, you cannot 'push' people into applying the level of effort they could give if they really wanted to. There is no correlation between traditional approaches to push leadership, such as the carrot and the stick, (extrinsic motivators) to people’s willingness to be a more creative, more energetic, or more passionate in service of each other and of the customer, (Intrinsic motivators). 

The challenge is no longer to ensure that team members perform tasks consistently and reliably. Now we need ‘Pull’ leadership approaches, aimed at encouraging individuals to share ideas collectively and constructively, and set their own personal development goals.

In reference to the graph below published by HBR, since 2007 companies advertising executive leadership positions have increasingly emphasised the importance of social leadership skills and deemphasised operational expertise. Just look at the divergence away from traditional push leadership methods focused on people’s compliance to operational performance vs. pull leadership, which is inextricably linked to the people’s commitment to contribution and value, the emerging determinants for better results.

If you want to move your team from the ego me to the collective we, it starts with you applying a new leadership mindset, skillset and action set to diverge from push methodologies… 

Push: My team makes me successful, to Pull; I’m here to make my team successful

Push: I oversee work, to Pull; I track people’s journeys and support outcomes

Push: I assess my team against expectations, to Pull; I coach them to achieve their potential and invite their feedback on my management

Push: I manage an intact team of people in fixed jobs in a physical workplace, to Pull; My team is fluid, and the workplace is digital

Push: I hold annual career appraisals focused on the next promotion, to Pull; I am always retraining my team and providing career coaching so that they are ready for the next stage, instead of promoting them into positions of relative incompetence.

Unfortunately, too many Leaders are failing to get SERIOUS about their own personal development right now, perhaps because the last few years have been so focused on coping. 

Now is the time to “SHARPEN THE SAW” and improve your leadership when everyone else is going deeper into fear and stagnation. Now is the time to add to your toolbox so that you may influence the leaders within your organisation. 

A team is always a reflection of it’s leader, take this quick, confidential survey as a lead-in to see your reflection and understand how effective your senior team is at Pull Leadership: To What Extent Are Your Leaders Effective Questionnaire (

Stay connected with us

for knowledge sharing updates!

Join our mail list to receive the latest Business & Leadership research, advancements & updates from our team and neuroscience community.

Don't worry, your details are safe, we will never share or sell your information, for any reason. You can unsubscribe at any time.