As I work to navigate the professional workplace, I constantly wonder what motivates those that reach the (quote-unquote) pinnacle of success.
When meeting with executives for the first time, three questions I almost always ask are:
One consistency that I've noticed in speaking to high level professionals is that their motivation comes from their fellow co-workers or their understudies. Many executives that I have spoken to have said that they rate their own success by how successful their understudies have been, rather than their individual accomplishments. For them, seeing other people they assisted achieve their goals was and is far more rewarding than achieving their own goals.
This has led me to recognize the importance of managers in the workplace and how impactful the relationship between a manger and an employee can be to having a successful company.
Often within the course of these conversations, I am asked in turn, what motivates me?
Personally, I am motivated by pure curiosity of what could be. Just how good can my team, as a unit, get? How far can we go to executing any given project to near perfection?
But, how can my manager(s) and you, as managers, assist your employees?
The job of a manager is to delegate and work to help other people succeed, and in turn, succeed as a company. As a young professional, I constantly want to be challenged. As a manager, your job is to raise the bar, give your employees the opportunity to potentially fail (or prove you wrong and have success). I want the ability to learn and develop as an employee. It is important not to limit the learning and growth of your employees.
As a manager, think about what motivates you... and use that to motivate your employees. What can you do, in your power, to excite and motivate your employees?
Recently, I was reflecting on the internships and jobs I have had and which manager I thought constantly challenged me. What characteristics did he have?
He, himself, was a workhorse, with an uncanny work ethic that inspired me to work just as hard. His work ethic alone was enough to gain my respect from the start of our working relationship. He had high standards for himself, and in return, extended high expectations for myself and his other direct reports. We followed the great personal example he set and honed in on the constructive criticism he had to offer.
Although not all, many employees are self-motivated. However, having a manager that leads by example and is able to set the bar high individually for him/herself can inspire a team to reach their full potential as well.
As former football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
What do you think are the best qualities in a manager? What motivates you? I would love to hear from you.