“What do you want?” I asked.
Robert needed to make a decision. It would impact his future and that of the team. The question, “What do you want?” is simple, but the answer takes work.
Mixed motives hindered Robert’s ability to make a decision. He needed to create space to think.
What’s behind the curtain?
A motive is a reason for doing something. The word comes from the Latin meaning to move; it’s a stimulus to act. When it comes to why you do something, there are several activators:
- Incentives — external influences that move you to act: bonus, the consequences, the reward, or the applause
- Impulse — the driving power that comes from your temperament or personality style: are you fast-paced or moderate paced; questioning or accepting; assertive or calm: logic-focused or people-focused?
- Motive — an emotion or desire that influences your will and causes you to act
What’s the source?
Consider two primary sources of motivation: selfish ambition or humility. Selfish ambition is a desire for personal advancement at the expense of others. Selfish ambition creates inflated pride and beliefs that lead to unproductive behaviors. The focus is on self.
Humility allows you to look beyond self and concentrate on the other person — to see the people. When humility is behind your thinking and actions you tend to: 1) regard others as more important than your own interests, 2) look out for the interests of others, and 3) adopt the attitude of a servant leader.
Over 45 years ago, Robert Greenleaf wrote an essay titled, “The Servant as Leader.” The three top ideas of his servant leadership model are:
- The Natural Desire — servant leadership begins with the natural feeling that you want to serve, to help first
- The Conscious Choice — brings you to aspire to lead as a servant
- The Best Test — asks the question “How are those you serve growing as persons?”
“While Traditional leadership involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares the power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
Motivation is crucial to your leadership success. Your motive supports or undermines your ability and willingness to learn and change; yes, to expand your personal influence.
Create Space to think about the Story
As Robert considered his opportunity humility supported his decision to do what was in the best interest of the team.
What decision are you facing?
As you think through your options ask yourself:
- What’s the source of my motivation, is it selfish ambition or humility?
- How strong is my desire to serve? Why do I believe that to be true?
- How are the people on your team growing as people?
Here’s to your next level,