Why motivation is so important

leadershipPreviously, I wrote about a recent interview in the New York Times with Sabine Heller, chief executive of A Small World, an online travel and lifestyle community. In the interview, Heller touched on many of the same facets that we include in our affirmative leadership process. When asked about what she looks for in a job candidate, she talked about whether the person is a leader. “I want to see if they are a leader in one way or another, because building consensus for something is very important in the world of business,” Heller said. “You need someone who can manage laterally and who can get people on board with their ideas. So I always ask for a time in someone’s career when they have come up with an idea and were able to get people on board, and then executed the idea.” Sound familiar? Heller’s description echoes what we see in leaders as the power to motivate others. The first component of motivation is a sense of purpose—the social good that gives work meaning. The second component of motivation is mastery. Most people want to be really good at their jobs, particularly when they have a compelling purpose. The third component of motivation is autonomy. People like to have control over their work and their environment; they resent interference from others. Being in control is a powerful motivator. The real leaders in any organization are not highly motivated themselves, they are able to motivate others. They are able to “get people on board with their ideas” because they help others achieve a sense of purpose, offer avenues for achieving that purpose, and allow their employees the autonomy and control to realize that purpose.]]>

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