A while ago I was soaking in the tub watching Dan Pink’s TED Talk on “The Puzzle of Motivation”.
Yeah, that’s how I spend my tub time––YouTube University!
Anyway, Mr. Pink was talking about the three major factors that motivate us:
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Give that man a Black Belt!
Pink understands what martial artists have known for hundreds of years; people perform best when they are motivated, and he identifies clearly where motivation comes from.
It’s simple––if you want to be highly motivated, find opportunities where you can express yourself with autonomy, develop your personal and professional mastery and apply your talents with a well defined purpose.
For a leader, however, that’s not enough …
It’s your job to motivate others. Your role, as John Quincy Adams so eloquently defined, is to “inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more …”
You inspire others to become more by trusting them.
Allow them the autonomy to do their jobs without big brother peering over their shoulders. If you can’t trust someone to work on their own within the parameters of the job, you hired the wrong person.
People work best when they own their jobs. That means as much autonomy as possible––as much control as possible over the operation and outcome of individual efforts.
You inspire others to learn and do more by providing opportunities for growth and development
Provide opportunities to develop personal and professional mastery.
Most people want to learn and grow. If you’re working with people who don’t––fire them.
It’s up to you to provide as many opportunities for growth and development as you can. Provide training that serves the organization needs and individual needs––personal growth and professional development are inseparable.
What I mean by that is that every organization is made up of individuals. Build stronger individuals and you build a stronger business.
Too often the “soft” skills like character development, communication and interpersonal skills are left aside in favor of investment in technical and domain specific training.
Good people can be trained in nearly any process. On the other hand, without the right mindset, attitude and character, no process operates to its full potential.
Provide opportunities for people to grow as professionals––and as people.
You inspire people to become more with a clear sense of purpose.
This may be a leader’s greatest obligation––to provide a clear sense of purpose.
What are we collectively working toward?
What is the driving reason for my work?
A clear sense of purpose makes your job as head of inspiration much easier. When you articulate a clear sense of purpose, you attract people who are already inspired by your cause.
Don’t carve your purpose in a granite block––or in a static mission or vision statement. Purpose is not a platitude, it’s not a slogan to hang on your wall––it’s a living, growing, evolving entity.
Assess and refine your purpose from time to time. Be sure your purpose is current, responsive to changing conditions, circumstances and relevant to the needs and desires of the market and your people.
A true leader is really someone who is able to inspire other people to transform themselves into someone better, sometimes even better than they ever expected or imagined.
Do that and your people will transform your organization into something better than you ever expected––maybe even better than you ever imagined.
What do you think an effective leaders should inspire?