Guest Post by Grayce Belvedere Young, president of the Organization Development Practice at Prouty Project (learn more about Grayce at the end of this post)
Women in leadership are well positioned to influence and guide their team members for greater success. How can they tap into their team members’ intrinsic motivations to fully engage them for both personal and professional success?
Daniel Pink’s book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” offers leaders valuable insights into motivation that impacts how we engage our team members. Pink’s central premise is that there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. He states, “The science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive but our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to live a life of purpose.”
The three components of motivation – autonomy, mastery and purpose – make sense when you think about them. Pink writes: “Autonomy is different from independence. It’s not the rugged, go-it-alone individualism. It means acting with choice – which means we can be both autonomous and highly interdependent with others.”
As leaders, you can help your team members shape their work by giving them choices in how they accomplish their work. In doing so, you’ll tap into their inner motivations while encouraging them to solve their own challenges and seize opportunities in a way that is important to them.
“Mastery is a mindset and involves pushing yourself to learn more and perform better,” according to Pink.
Engaging your team members in a dialogue to understand what is important to them in their work is a starting point. What do they enjoy doing? What do they want to get better at doing? What skills do they seek to grow? Once you have a better understanding of this, be creative on how you can help your team members grow.
For example, if someone on your team wants deeper customer knowledge, consider asking her to do some research on your customers as part of your strategic planning process. Or if another team member says he wants to deepen his financial acumen, consider involving him in the 2013 budgeting process. Finding projects to help your team members gain mastery is rewarding for them and helps accomplish your work.
The third component – purpose – supports autonomy and mastery. “Autonomous people working toward mastery perform at very high levels. The most deeply motivated people – not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied – hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves,” Pink writes.
You may find that one of your team member’s purposes is outside of work. You may wish to encourage the person to serve on a non-profit committee or board that supports the cause of her passion area. For example, if your team member is passionate about animals, encourage her to get involved on a committee or board that supports animals, while honing a specific skill that she needs in her role, like strategic thinking or relationship building. Your support of her interests will be beneficial to her, to you, to our community, and your organization.
As leaders, you have great capacity to facilitate your team members’ success. Giving them autonomy to accomplish their work, supporting their mastery of skills or knowledge, and understanding their areas of passion can be avenues to foster greater success for your team member, for you and for your organization. For a short synopsis of Daniel Pink’s “Drive” concepts, watch his video on TED.com.
Guest Author: Grayce Belvedere Young is president of the Organization Development Practice at Prouty Project (www.proutyproject.com), a Minneapolis-based, global strategic planning and organization development firm. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org