Empowerment: Motivation and Challenge

28 Apr

(Part 2 of 3)

Telling people how to do their job will never be as motivating as teaching them why the job matters.  High performers typically have their own high standards for performance, but they also feel accountable to their leader, without feeling micromanaged.  Motivation also comes from giving employees stretch assignments.  Challenging (but doable) tasks set people up for success, help them grow in confidence, and have been documented to have a positive impact on their emotional mood.   Because self-confidence is based on a judgment, and because self-confidence is key to performance improvements, each success builds our confidence and helps us judge ourselves more accurately.  As leaders, it is our responsibility to help those under us build their own self-confidence. 

We need to stop viewing people as “in our way” and start viewing them as “vital resources” in accomplishing our joint projects. 

When dealing with people, there are many more unknowns. Enabling a motivated Type A self-starter is entirely different than motiving someone who lacks confidence in their own abilities.  Wanting to enable others is an important first step, but learning how to enable others will be an ongoing project. 

There is certainly a place for consistency and standardization, but there is also a place for realizing that it is okay to do things differently.  And it is okay to allow someone to do things differently. Leaders cannot be overly sensitive. We must be sincerely delighted when someone does a task better than we had done it previously.  There is a certain pride in seeing someone blossom under our leadership and knowing we played a pivotal role in that transformation. The key is to not rest on those laurels, but to jump right back into coaching others.  And to teach those we mentor to also mentor.  This way, we can expand our influence past what we are physically capable of.

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