Motivations and Expectations

If you can work with others’ motivations and shape your expectations, everyone will achieve synergistic success.

People need to be empowered to act on their own motivation. To know their motivations requires you to know each person individually. If you don’t listen to, understand, and empathize with your people, you will limit their dedication to your cause — not to mention your effectiveness as a leader!

Despite popular belief, people cannot be motivated externally. Motivation cannot be bred where none existed previously. Some people are naturally motivated, and others are not.

So what can you do about it?

Though you can’t actually motivate people yourself, people can definitely be spun up and empowered to act on their natural motivations.

Um… How?

It’s not easy! People are complicated, and understanding one’s motivations is like reading one’s mind. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Maybe we can break down the process.

Listen Well

Team members are not machines. They are people!

People have souls and families and emotions and pride. People have painful sensitivities — everyone does, you just don’t know another’s sensitivities are.

How much do you know about the woman you hired six months ago? Sure, you know her address and the size of her family, but what do you know about her joys and hobbies? Has she shared her intentions for working at your company? Have you asked?

It’s rare that people won’t talk about their personal life. Much more rare, however, is an audience that desires to truly listen and empathize. If you listen, they will talk.

People love talking about things they enjoy. Probe around sincerely until you discover a topic that causes your team member to light up. Listen actively and ask questions to learn more about it. You just might be surprised to realize how interested you are, merely because they are so passionate about the topic.

Clearly Communicate Expectations

This is difficult to do consistently for each team member. As leaders, we hope that others can learn to read our minds and pick up on what we expect of them. This is never the case.

Be clear about what you need from your team members. Explain their role in a way which pulls them along in their professional development — pushing is ineffective past the short term!

Challenges pull people along and enable growth. Stagger challenges based on the confidence and experience of the team member.

Give people the definition of their professional success. It is in everyone’s best interest to spell out what is expected. And it is obviously Win-Win if they fulfill those expectations.

Combine Expectations with Motivations

If you enable people to realize how their motivations align with your expectations, you are in the business of creating success by developing others and helping them achieve their goals.

And thus, everyone wins.

What really drives your team members? Can what drives them also drive the entire team’s success?