That is the question that most of us ask ourselves when approached (weather it be by force outside of ourselves or that of self interest) with a task or objective. Is it worth the time that I could spend furthering my career, developing my relationships, furthering my knowledge? You could also ask if the above is worth going after. Will these things help you to accomplish your goals and aspire you to do greater things? Will they take you one step closer to your goal in life, whatever that may be?
So, what does this look like from a management position? Not only do the people in management need to ask themselves these questions, they need to ask themselves these questions on behalf of other people. They have to do this in order to know what motivates the people they manage. Motivating others and understanding what motivates the people you work with and oversee is a crucial skill to embody as someone in a management position.
According to Psychology Today, “Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day.”
In our text, The Geek Leader’s Handbook, both Paul Glen and Maria McManus talk about motivating others and what that looks like. Specifically what that looks like with respect to geeks. They discuss what motivates geeks and what does not motivate geeks.
What does not motivate them:
- Cash Bonuses
- Unqualified appreciation
- Formal awards
What does motivate them:
- Right answers – the search for truth
- Challenging puzzles – the drive for mastery
- Meaningful questions – the aspiration to matter
- Competition – the pursuit of status
I don’t know about you, but when I look at these, I believe I fall in the middle somewhere. I may lean slightly to one side more than the other, but I believe that I fall in the middle for the most part. I will never say no to a cash bonus, though I would like a salary raise more. I love looking for the right answers and searching for truth. I get uncomfortable when I get credit for something that I did not do or receive praise for something so minute. I like the feeling of mastering things. I like going to parties, but am not a huge fan of attention. I like to engage in things that are meaningful and that bring about good in the world. I am not motivated by threats, in fact, just the opposite. And lastly, I like positive competition and that of which is fair.
Coming back, full circle, what motivates you? Is it getting good grades? Pleasing a parent? Maybe it’s a girlfriend or boyfriend. Maybe is that feeling you get when you accomplish something? Maybe it’s just the ability to interact with other people or getting away and spending some alone time thinking. Maybe it’s learning? Whatever it is that is motivating you, understand that you are not the only one in this world who is motivated and that it is up to you, as the manager, to figure out what motivates that of yourself and of your team.
Here is a video by Timothy P. Nash who talks about motivating others and what it takes to successfully motivate them.