Do you ever wonder what makes your employees tick? When you think about it, employees are not working FOR you. They are working for themselves. They are working to make a living, and ultimately to create the life they feel aligns with their goals, values, and motivation. So, as a leader, how do you invite them on your leadership journey, while taking in to account their core motivation? The bigger question is, do you know what motivates your employees? Knowing this information can only be determined through identifying your core motivation, leading with transparency, and having conversations with your coworkers and employees.
Identify Your Core Motivation. Begin by asking yourself, “Why do I work? Why did I choose my career path?” Knowing why you work is powerful. When you have identified your core motivation, it helps you to understand and modify your behaviors as necessary. Knowing your core motivation and values also helps you to make decisions. You are able to identify what will align with your values and set you on the path to success in life.
It is difficult to help people align their core motivation and goals with yours if you are unclear. So, take the time to think about what you want to accomplish, and more importantly why. Do you want to create this new company because it is the right thing to do. Will it allow you to have more freedom and control over your income, hours, and the ability to give back to the community? Do you want to begin a new project because the technological innovations will allow you to learn and understand your field in new and innovative ways. Do you want to have the ability to support your family, and flex your time between home and work? As you can see there are many reasons that we work, form new projects, and move through the world as us. What is important is to be ourselves. Don’t try to be another person’s personality. Their is strength in knowing yourself, and growth comes when we work on living to OUR fullest potential.
Be Transparent About Your Values. When people start working for you, they are frequently only looking at the nuts and bolts of the job. What will I be doing? What is the output? What is expected of me? Many times people are not aware of the reasons why they are doing the job, and ultimately how the job is perceived. Our values create a lens through which we interpret the work and how it should be done. If you are up front with your employees about why you are doing the job, it creates a personal connection, and invites them to connect with your vision, and hopefully enhance it with their own.
Have a Conversation. How do you know what is motivating your employees? How do you know how their values align with the work? You don’t. At least you don’t know until you have a conversation. You have been transparent about your values, why and how you work. This has opened the door for a conversation with your co-workers and employees. Invite them into your office or out for coffee to discuss what they want out of their job and career. Why did they choose their career? You can find out all kinds of information from these meetings. You may gain an insight into the work you are doing that you didn’t even consider. Sometimes it takes time to build the rapport and trust to have this open conversation, and it is one that is ongoing. However, once you have this conversation, you will have insight into what motivates your employees, and how you can help them align their work with what motivates them.
As leaders we have ideas about who we are and why we work. We have goals, values, and motivations about who we want to be as leaders and we want to bring our employees along with us. However, we have to recognize that they are moving through life with different experiences, values and motivation. The power comes from understanding where they are coming from, and identifying how we can help them meet their goals and work with their core motivation.