Basic Training

Last week in our staff meeting, Rachel called attention to the marker board. John Maxwell’s “5 Levels of Leadership” were on there. I had used them in a teaching session I did that past week with our Young Adult ministry leader. About half of the group said they had never seen it before. I was stunned. I walked up to the board and proceeded to teach them through those basic principles. About 15 minutes into it, my tech guy says, “Gosh, I wish I was taping this!” They were all fully engaged and wonderfully excited. I was amazed that something so basic was so exhilarating for them. It’s a common leadership oversight.

The “curse of knowledge” is the illusion that things that are so familiar to us are familiar to everyone. I’ve taught the Levels of Leadership concept dozens of times. I refer to it often in conversations with leaders. I’ve taught it to my staff. Just not THIS staff! As I reflected on this experience, I realized there are some things that are too important to NOT teach. There are some concepts, ideas or training EVERY team needs to have. It’s basic training stuff. And it’s sometimes the stuff that we’re so familiar with we don’t realize they don’t really know it! Here are a few key pieces I don’t think we can leave to chance:

Leadership 101 – When’s the last time your team went through the Levels of Leadership? When’s the last time you covered basic concepts such as Taking Responsibility, Recruiting, Delegating, or Working By Priority rather than urgency? It’s stuff many of us do now by habit, but I’ll bet some of your team doesn’t!

Emotional Intelligence – If you’re a leader who is a high “I” on the DISC then relationships come easy for you. But what about your team? When is the last time you taught them skills like “Emotional Responding” or “Active Listening” or “The Power of Appreciation?” My guess is most of your organizational problems are relational in nature, yet we often forget to equip our team to manage those relationships.

Teamwork – We expect our crew to work together as a team, but we forget to tell them what that looks like. When’s the last time your group reviewed “The Five Dysfunctions of A Team” or talked openly about how things are going among you as a group? Sometimes we get stuck because we slip into dysfunctional ways of operating, and we don’t even realize it.

Vision – Vision leaks. Every good leader knows that. But even good leaders sometimes forget that it leaks faster the further down the ladder you go! When’s the last time you reviewed your vision in detail and asked each department to share how they were doing with fulfilling the vision by citing specific examples? I’ll bet you’d be surprised how some are doing. Or not doing!

Great leaders don’t forget that EVERYONE needs to know these things…and be REMINDED of them from time to time.

The lesson for me that day was that these are things I can’t leave to chance. It may be Basic Training stuff, but it’s also MISSION CRITICAL stuff! Great leaders don’t forget that EVERYONE needs to know these things…and be REMINDED of them from time to time. Vince Lombardi, the great former coach of the Minnesota Vikings, used to start every season by calling his players together and saying, “Gentlemen, THIS is a football.” For you and your staff, what is your football?

7 Things Motivated People Don’t Do

by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

At The Culture Works, our research teams have surveyed more 850,000 people to learn what makes people the most motivated and engaged in their careers. We found that when individuals are fulfilled on the job they not only produce higher quality work and a greater output, but also generally earn higher incomes. And those most satisfied with their work are also 150 percent more likely to have a happier life overall.

As we researched this subject for our new book What Motivates Me, we found the seven things most motivated, fulfilled people don’t do:

They don’t chase the almighty buck (if that’s not what motivates them).

Motivation is not about doing what anyone else thinks is right for you, nor is it necessarily about chasing a job that pays well if money is not what floats your boat.
It’s about aligning more of your work with what drives you. People differ enormously in what makes them happy—for some, challenge, excelling and pressure are the greatest sources of happiness. For others, money and prestige. And for others, service, friendship and fun are more satisfying in a workplace. The trick is in identifying your core drivers and then aligning your work to do more of what you love and little less of what frustrates you.

They don’t wait for a manager to motivate them.

The truth is, very few leaders know what’s really motivating to their people or, even if they do, would know how to apply that information to their day-to-day work. Motivated individuals have discovered that the surest way to happier and more successful work lives is: first, understanding what drives you and then second, doing some sculpting of the nature of your jobs or tasks to better match duties with passions. That involves working with a manager, of course, but most motivated people lead this effort themselves. They take charge of their careers.

They don’t leave to chase a dream job.

There is a prevalent notion that if you’re unhappy with your work, it will take a
Herculean effort to change things, that you have to quit and find your “dream job.” For the vast majority of people, that’s just nonsense. That’s not to say motivated people never change departments or companies, and we all can appreciate that if an individual is completely miscast or miserable, it’s not good for them, their customers, or their managers. But most people don’t need to take a risky leap; instead, they need to start by making small but important sculpting changes in their work lives. Many of the happiest people we’ve spoken with didn’t find their bliss down a new path; they made course corrections on the path they were already on.

They don’t believe everyone is motivated like they are.

One of the traps most of us can fall into is believing that other people are driven by the same things we are. We’ve counseled a bevy of frustrated teams on this issue. Perhaps the majority of the team members are what we call “Builders”—people who are focused on high-minded ideals like developing others, service, teamwork and a greater purpose. And most of those team members believe anyone who is not motivated in those ways is not a “team player.” But on the team are also a handful of people we would classify as Achievers, Caregivers, Thinkers and Reward-Driven, and these are the people who feel alienated and unappreciated. Great strength comes in recognizing and appreciating diversity, but we have to understand and utilize the motivational drive of others. For instance, the Reward-Driven person can make a team more competitive. Thinkers help us be more creative. Caregivers encourage empathy and fun. Achievers make us more goal-oriented, and Builders help drive purpose and meaning. Most teams need all Identities in play to function at high levels.

They don’t focus inward.

The happiest people we found in our studies typically focus their work efforts in service of others rather than on self-gain. That may mean they achieve more or sell more or do more because they truly believe in their products or services and genuinely believe they are helping their customers by putting those goods in their hands—versus those who are simply striving to win a deal and cash a paycheck. It’s a subtle change in thinking, but it’s important. Psychologists also say most people perform at work better when they focus their energy toward serving their families instead of themselves. Thus, motives based on the pursuit of power, narcissism, or overcoming self-doubt are less rewarding and less effective than goals based on the pursuit of providing security and support for one’s loved ones or being able to give of one’s gain to a worthwhile cause.

They don’t hang out with whiners.

We all know who they are: there’s typically a group of people who complain about everything at the office. If the boss pulls out her wallet and starts handing out twenty-dollar bills, the whiners will later moan that they weren’t fifties. The most motivated people avoid this petulant bunch. Complaining with no solution is a toxic habit. Sometimes making a positive difference at work is simply a matter of how a person chooses to think. We always counsel those troubled at work to look for ways to be authentically positive; for instance, publicly acknowledging a coworker’s accomplishment on completing a project. And even if it doesn’t help change the office environment, we remind them they can always do this at home: telling their significant others or kids why they are inspiring, always using specific language, not vague platitudes.

They don’t compare themselves to others.

The motivated people we interviewed don’t waste a lot of time comparing themselves to those who have more; instead, they regularly express gratitude for the talents, resources, and relationships they do have, not to mention their health, their friends, their own brilliance, their motivation, and their family who inspire them. Everyone is happiest when they are thankful for the gifts they have been given, and that gratitude should be offered up regularly to those around them who support them and help them thrive. Psychologists are only just beginning to understand the healing and strengthening mental power of grateful attitudes. The most successful and happy people are frequent and specific in their verbal appreciation of not only their colleagues but also family members and friends.

Post used with permission from The Culture Works. Authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton are the New York Times bestselling authors of All In and The Carrot Principle. Their latest book, What Motivates Me, is on sale now. 

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