One of the biggest mistakes leaders make at every level of an organization is the “one size fits all approach” to motivation and crucial conversations. The default position far too many managers take is using the technique that motivates THEMSELVES.
For example, I once had a sales manager say to me, “Micaela, you are killing it! I see a shiny BMW in your future”…if this person only knew a thing about me he would have known that a shiny BMW is the LAST thing I cared about and his intended message had the reverse effect. I thought, why am I working so hard for this person who doesn’t even know me? Doesn’t understand my core values or care about WHY I have chosen this career path. If he had said, “Micaela, you are killing it! You are literally impacting thousands of students, AND I see another crazy trip to take to Costa Rica or Thailand in your future.” OK, yes – now we are on to something!
As a leader of business development teams, it is always important to me to understand the WHY behind my team’s WANTS and realize that every single one of them will and should be different. Whether it is financial stability, college tuition, a passion for education, or a new home, the better I know what my individual team members are working towards, the better I can ADAPT my leadership style and message to them.
There are many benefits to taking this approach. The old adage, “People don’t quit companies, they quit bosses” begins and ends when people feel misunderstood and unappreciated. Unfortunately, many resignations are not warranted as it is often a simple mismatch of leadership to motivation style. What better way to avoid this than to personalize the message – especially when the stakes are high!
The best part is that this is not difficult. All you have to do is ASK, sit back, and LISTEN. Just because you have the title of boss or authority figure, does not mean your voice is the only one that should fill the airways. The best leaders know that they work for their teams just as much as their teams work for them. Demonstrating your ability to listen and REMEMBER is a great first step at establishing mutual respect, and a productive working relationship for years to come.