What Drives You?
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
I am reminded of some of the best leadership lessons during my coaching sessions. It’s where I sharpen my iron and help my clients to see things in a new way so they can achieve the results that they desire. Today, while working with a client managing a staff member who was struggling with their performance, I asked a question that helped give her clarity.
“Is your team member primarily motivated by results, values or quality?”
She paused, deep in thought, trying to identify the patterns she’d seen in this person, but clearly was not sure. I helped her by clarifying what I meant by my question.
We’re all motivated to act based on an end goal. That end goal is usually about one of three things.
Results- achieving the goal, on time, and in line with expectations
Values- operating with the need to act and do what’s “right” above all else, in line with our values or our mission
Quality- focusing on the desire to not just produce a product, but to produce the best quality
product or result possible
I’m primarily a results person. While I absolutely care about integrity and ethics, and while I think about quality (Erica is always excellent!), my first inclination is to say, “DID WE GET IT DONE?” For me, this means we shouldn’t spend too much time focused on just the aesthetics or the details, or the quality, if it’s at the risk of the timetable or expectations we set forth. Sometimes we just need to get the job done.
Others are more driven by their ethics. Their leading question is, "Are we doing the right (virtuous) thing?" It could take us forever to get to an end goal. It may be nice to focus on the quality, but if it flies in the face of what’s "right", it’s not a motivator to act.
Finally, for some, the quality of the thing is everything. My best friend is like this. She can’t do anything just “regular.” Not a 40th birthday party, not a professional event or workshop, or redecorating her house. EVERYTHING for her is about the quality. To her, if you’re not going make it a quality product and create a memorable experience of it, then why do it at all?
Since we’re all motivated by different factors, we must remember that conflict can arise when we are not on the same page. Bringing this back to my client, she found that this is exactly where she and her staff member collided. While she was focused on getting it done and meeting deadlines, her teammate was focused on the quality, missing deadlines in the process, just to get the best product possible to her. Admittedly, she said, “the work is amazing, but it is always late, and I am stressed while waiting to get it knowing that we’re jeopardizing the goal.” In this way, as she articulated it, “we’re letting perfection be the enemy of the good.”
Let me end by saying, there is no right or wrong motivating factor of the three. They’re all important, and most of us, if not all of us, care about all three, just likely in a different order of priority than those around us. If we can understand this concept, we can identify how to work better together. We can better signal what it is that we need from each other, and we can bring our team in sync and on the same page.
Tell us in the comments, what motivates you: results, values or quality?
Stay tuned next week where we’ll discuss the difference between coaching and management!
Thanks for reading!