Are Your Employees in It for The Money, The Glory, Or Themselves?

Success is the reward for a job well done, and its measured a variety of ways.  For some, success equates to stature – corner office and a spiffy title.  For others, it’s green – a hulking bank account.  And then you have those searching for a sense of fulfilment – belonging (if you will.)  Motivating each of these personalities requires guile, experience, and open-mindedness.

For years, I didn’t understand what made me tick, and this posed a challenge to my employers. Primarily, people use money as a means of motivation. To be fair, that approach is quite helpful; however, financial gain is not the end game for everyone. I grew up with my Depression-era grandparents who taught me a valuable lesson about money – one day it’s here, next it’s *poof*!  Because of their experiences, they were fierce savers, and proponents of finding satisfaction in the work you did rather than the thickness of your wallet. They instilled upon me that pride is derived by providing value, and value is achieved through accomplishment.

Motivating someone like myself can be challenging to managers solely employing money as a carrot. I liken this to what we’re experiencing in the workplace today with Millennial employees. They are much more focused on creating a difference in this world, and fully enjoying life, rather than toiling away 40-hours a week for a paycheck that could evaporate within a press release. The workplace is evolving, and it’s finally catching up to the human aspect of the workforce. People are people. Most importantly, they are individuals. Each being driven by a separate set of goals and ethics. While that can seem intimidating, it’s quite easy to understand how to motivate your employees, and it’s something you should be doing anyway.

When leaders build relationships with people within their organizations there is a deeper connection to the understanding of what makes ‘Jim’, ‘Jim’, and what makes ‘Sally’, ‘Sally’. When leaders understand those nuances, they can develop a plan satisfying the motivational needs of their team members. As a leader, you can help employees unlock what they’re passionate about at work. With that knowledge, you can empower them to succeed by delegating challenging and meaningful responsibilities. Furthermore, you’ll be able to develop a much more efficient mechanism for reward.

Let’s say Jim isn’t really a morning person. His peak efficiency occurs later in the day. If it makes sense, you could create a win-win situation by amending his schedule to accommodate. Sally on the other hand has a son in soccer and would love to make a few games throughout the season. Allow her the flexibility to do so. In both the situations you provided reward, but most importantly you further developed a relationship with both Jim and Sally. And what did it cost you? Nothing?

Granted, there are those who are driven by financial and personal gain.  Get an understanding of where they want to be over the next few years. If someone is in it for the money, perhaps you can adjust their compensation package to align with that reward? Are you able to include a commission incentive on top of salary? (NOTE: Great added benefit, the more they earn, the more revenue they must produce.) If someone has their eye on a certain position, how can you help them develop into that role? What can you do to aid that individual in making the contributions necessary to reach their goal?  Again, both approaches further develop relationships, provide an upside to your business, and provide employees the motivational support they need.

Everyone is different, so get creative. Talk to your people. Gain a command of what gets them out of bed in the morning, and why. With that information, create an organization anyone would be proud to serve.





How to Alienate Coworkers and Get Yourself Fired

You’re a Sales Rockstar! You put up numbers like nobody’s business.  You know the Alec Baldwin speech from Glengarry Glenn Ross by heart, and you’re an Apex-Predator-Level Closer.  Unfortunately, the attributes contributing to your success are the very same undermining your future – chief among them your Dominance (i.e. Your Ego or Bravado).

Way back in human history there was a time we believed the Sun revolved around the Earth.  As we evolved, we came to understand otherwise.  The same holds true for insanely successful employees.  They’re dang good at what they do, and they know it.  As such, they sometimes come under the false impression that the company revolves around them.

I use sales as an example, but this could be anyone in any organization. These are your restaurant quality 800-pound gorillas steamrolling everyone in their path to achieve an objective.  They play manager against manager, treat peers like subordinates, and focus on the singularity of their goals.  What’s lost upon these individuals is each employee is but an extension of the organization, and no one individual is greater than the sum of an organization’s parts. When you treat people otherwise, you demean their contribution, and miss out on important developmental opportunities.

Let’s revisit our Rockstar salesperson.  They are driven by challenge and sometimes the biggest fish are the only ones they’re willing to hunt. However, what if those big fishes aren’t really the best clients for your company?  Your Rockstar is looking at the commission and thrill of the chase, and you’re left wondering what happens if this behemoth account is even profitable.  The dominating nature of these individuals oftentimes precludes them from the practicality of cultivating the ‘right’ mix of clients.  They want Ahab’s Whale, so batten down the hatches. 

While these folks add to the bottom line, they leave a wake of destruction in their path.  Their transactional demeanor alienates colleagues, and their obstinate approach to work poses a tremendous amount of exposure.  After a while, many people within the organization struggle with the debate of cutting a successful producer loose (and losing them to a competitor) or keeping them on and running triage on those they affected.  The latter is often viewed as untenable, and tough decisions are made. 

Dominance is a tool, just like Energy, Reflectiveness, and a host of other behavior traits.  As with any tool, when used correctly it has a tremendous upside. People of influence, go getters, and the folks making things happen have dominating characteristics - the truly successful among them know how to balance drive with practicality.   

Leaders of domineering people have to work especially hard to keep them focused.  It’s takes some extra effort, but as a mentor once shared with me, “It’s a lot easier to steer a moving car.”  Have open, and direct conversations about your employee’s aggressive tendencies, while working to understand how best to position their efforts (and drive everyone else a little less crazy.)  If you’re the 800-pound gorilla (no judgement) check yourself.  Talk to your colleagues, reach out to your manager for feedback, and work better to understand that your success in driven by the success of those around you.  When you contribute in a productive nature, everyone wins – from clients to owners, and ultimately, yourself!