Leaders Need to Motivate Their Teams in New Ways
Author Daniel Pink of the book Drive and many other bestsellers talks about extrinsic or intrinsic motivation in this groundbreaking book on motivation. I have adapted the concept to how it would pertain to leadership and looked at how we can leverage this knowledge as a leader.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help define your primary motivation as a leader:
- You view your role as a leader as a function that is to drive results and goals for the organization ___yes or ___no
- You see targets and margins as the primary measurement of business success __yes or ___no
- You believe that you are on a ‘mission’ that your role is to lead others to fulfill a purpose in their job __yes or __no
- You are impressed by what people ‘do’ not what they say __yes or __no
- You feel good about yourself when you are helping other people or working on a project that will positively impact the world __yes or __no
- You feel good about yourself when you are reaching targets and goals set __yes or __no
If you answered yes to questions #1 , 2, 4 and 6 you are extrinsically motivated
If you answered yes to questions #3 and 5 you are intrinsically motivated
It helps you as a leader to know how you are motivated because you can then adapt to the motivations of those on your team. If you are intrinsically motivated and you are a sales professional and your leader is an extrinsically motivated boss you could find yourself becoming demotivated and uninspired to get the results. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you were both the sales professional and the leader to know how to motivate to get the results?
The leader in this case would need to tie in purpose, mission and global impact into the focus for the sales professional. Rather than talk solely about targets and numbers the leader would want to sit down and have regular discussions about how the product being sold is making a positive difference in the world and how the sales professional is changing the world with every sale that is made. The leader would want to share stories of customer impact and encourage the sales professional to gather testimonials to further anchor the value of the product. The sales professional knowing that his leader is extrinsically motivated will want to show the results and how they were achieved by focusing on mission and global impact.
If you are an extrinsically motivated leader you will want to know who on your team is also extrinsically motivated and who is intrinsically motivated. You would then adapt your approach and you would integrate your messages in team meetings and in your team communications to ensure you are speaking the language of both the extrinsic and the intrinsic motivated members on the team.
As a leader knowing your self includes knowing your polarities. Like a battery as humans we have a positive and negative polarity in our psychology. It is human nature to want to show ourselves in a positive way the majority of the time and rarely do we want to show our weaker or negative aspects of ourselves.
The best leaders I have worked for, with and alongside are those who acknowledge their ‘dark side’ who are willing to work to develop themselves and are not afraid to show vulnerability in their role as leader.
A few months ago I was working with a CEO of a environmental solutions company. I was hired to work with the CEO and the COO to conduct a leadership assessment from the top down. The CEO is a forty-year-old Generation X who has had the company for over ten years and he and the COO had grown it from zero to three million. The CEO is an extrinsic motivated leader with a Driver/Vision style and in the past resorted to anger and frustration with his team. When he and I assessed his leadership and its effectiveness he had to be willing to acknowledge his negative tendencies. His willingness to learn and grow got him to a place where he could shift his behavior and look at his leadership from a higher view. He was able to see that what got him to three million was not what was going to get him to ten.
Businesses grow in direct correlation to the level that its leaders are willing to grow!