As an executive recruiter, or, headhunter as some prefer, I have had the opportunity to be engaged with hundreds of companies across diverse industries. Many companies strive to have a highly unique culture and desire candidates who will be a “fit” in their organizations. I believe it’s a mutual exploration process between candidate and potential employer. As part of my company’s interview process when vetting prospective candidates, we always explore motivation. What motivates this individual not only professionally but personally? How does he or she motivate others? To truly understand if this candidate will be a good fit, we listen to, and ensure we understand, their intrinsic motivations and leadership skills.
The art of leader motivation
Leadership is creating conditions in which people want to follow the leader. Motivation is described as “an energizing force that stimulates arousal, direction, and persistence of behavior”. Successful leaders show that the outcomes are what the followers want for themselves. Followers believe that they share the same values, and as a result, are self-motivation to follow the leader.
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
People’s level of motivation is driven by self-talk
Not everyone is self-motivated to complete all aspects of their professional endeavors. Learning techniques to motivate oneself are as equally important as learning how to motivate others. Self-talk is the spoken and internal message we communicate to ourselves about our feelings and attitudes. While there is no one size fits all technique to enhance self-motivation, negative messages can impact risk taking while positive messages provide stimulus for accomplishing goals. Start with the belief that every obstacle is an opportunity.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” –Albert Schweitzer
Personal goals + professional goals = motivation to succeed
How many companies embrace personal life-goal planning for employees in conjunction with professional goals and objectives? Our business lives and personal lives are not separate, they’re intertwined. Life planning includes professional and personal objectives that are often co-dependent on each other. For example, the goal of having a family and buying a home may not be achieved without achieving professional goals that provide the compensation to achieve the personal goals.
When employees link personal goals to company goals they are more motivated to achieve the company goals because they see them as an extension of their own personal goals. Why not link these together in the workplace? Leaders who value the personal goals of their team members understand the importance of allowing employees to grow within and outside of the business. Personal goals can serve as motivation for employees to be more productive and successful. Accounting for the whole interests of a person will yield higher employee satisfaction, retention rates and more value.
“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” –Tom Peters