What motivates people to do their best? Financial rewards? Yes people will work hard for financial rewards? Prestige? Yes again, an advanced position or impressive job title in recognition of a job well done with are certainly going to encourage individuals to work hard. As motivating as money and job titles are, those might not always be in the cards for every boss and every employee, but it doesn’t matter because great leaders know one of the most motivating things they can do for their team is also the one they have the most control over. They have learned to be great communicators.
If you want people to do a great job for you, you need to make sure they know exactly what you expect of them. Tell them when they’re on track and when things need to be improved and how. They need to feel like they make a difference, like they’re not just another cog in a rolling corporate wheel.
Help them feel good about themselves
People will work well if they feel good about themselves and what they’re doing. Great communicators give people reasons to feel good about themselves. They say things like, “I have total confidence in you.”
They give people an opportunity to shine, to use their natural talents and strengths to accomplish something, and those people invariably rise to the task.
Acknowledge a job well done
Leaders expect their people to do a good job. That’s why they brought them on. Even so, people always do better when their efforts are acknowledged. When they feel like what they’re doing matters. Great communicators are not stingy with praise. They let their people know exactly how they’re doing.
They also know acknowledgement is a two way street. A job poorly done is also acknowledged. Leaders that engender the greatest respect don’t simply complain about a job that wasn’t well done. They discuss the situation with the team member. They’ll ask, “What went wrong? How can we improve next time?”
A person that is included in the process this way also feels acknowledged and will always do their best to improve and gain the approval of the boss who treats them with so much respect and consideration.
Share the vision
People will work better when they see the big picture. The big picture gives the group a common goal to strive for. It keeps people on track and motivated. Great communicators always ask, “Do you have any questions?” keeping the lines of communication always open.
In every office you’ll find all kinds of people. The introverts, the extroverts, the technical minded ones, the artistic ones, the list goes on and on. All sorts of different people with different temperaments thrive and get ahead. However, besides the specifics of a person’s personality and skills people can generally be sorted into two distinct categories, the waters and the doers.
Wanters expect things to come to them
Wanters are the ones who always want to know when they can expect to get a promotion or a raise. They look out for what the company can do for them. When things aren’t working to their satisfaction, they want change, but they don’t necessarily do anything about it. In general wanters are their own number one priority. When five o’clock rolls around, they want to get out of the office and move on the next thing they want to do.
Doers create what they want
Doers on the other hand, are prepared to do what it takes to get a job done. They don’t ask when they will get a promotion they ask what they can do to get that promotion faster. They realize there is only one way to get ahead and that’s through merit. Not time, not the people they have drinks with not good intentions or talk.
If a job isn’t finished when it’s time to go home, a doer will stick around to make sure it gets done. If something isn’t working as well or as efficiently as it should, they don’t just complain about it or work around it, doers address the problem. They find better ways of doing things. If they have to improve themselves then they take the course or they ask us to put them in touch with a mentor.
Wanters might talk about how they want to make a six figure income one day. Doers spend every day going that extra mile to ensure they achieve their wants.
Not every famous person is billboard famous
There are many potential ways to be famous. There’s fame where everyone knows who you are because you are a superstar singer or actor or athlete or scientist or inventor – spotlight famous.
There’s also famous within smaller spheres. Like being president of a company – making you famous to everyone that works in that location. Dial it down a little and you can make a case for people being famous all the way up or down the ladder within an organization.
You can also be famous within your family or school or on your team for accomplishments over time or a single outstanding moment.
Perfectly wonderful everyday people
There may be many potential opportunities to be famous in one capacity or another, yet the majority of us will not be more than another person in the crowd for the majority of our lives. And we are here to say that’s perfectly wonderful.
Not everyone will be or needs to be famous, or a head turner, or the talk of the town (or dinner table). A person’s worth has nothing to do with how famous or well-known they are. It has everything to do with what they bring to this experience we all share called life.
Purpose and service have nothing to do with fame
The people most deserving of our recognition and our esteem are those that realize no matter how far apart or how different we may all seem from each other, we are essentially one big family. Thus the most important thing we can do is help each other in whatever ways we can. That may be as small as helping someone standing confused at a bank machine terminal. It may be as regular as a weekly volunteer stint at a soup kitchen. It may be through the donation of time or money to causes close to our hearts.
The greatest people among us are not the most famous. They are the ones who share their hearts with others.
Every great leader has his or her own style of leadership. But just about every one of them share these five pillars as a base.
A strong leader has a vision for what needs to get done. However that doesn’t mean they believe they have to (or can) get it all done themselves. They have the ability to see the unique talents of each member of the team. Therefore they make a point of allowing each person to excel where they can. A strong leader creates an atmosphere of collaboration where different aspects of the project are led by the individual most capable of doing so. They create teams where everyone feels heard and valued.
If people on the team don’t have a clear perspective of what’s expected of them individually and as part of the whole group they cannot possibly do the best they can do. The very best leaders are expert communicators. They encourage questions, they are generous with praise and advice and they are not embarrassed or afraid to admit when they are wrong or when they’ve set a wrong path.
Everyone wants the project they’re working on to succeed. People who are strong leaders do everything they can to get that project to the finish line, but once it’s there they don’t feel the need to stand around collecting all the glory for themselves. They share the praise, and give recognition to everyone who contributed. They celebrate the accomplishment rather than seek recognition for their part in it, understanding that a shared success is much sweeter than a success devoured alone.
In the process of achieving a leadership position, the leader has learned a great deal about many aspects of the project they’re overseeing. When people come to them for help it might be easy to simply tell people under them everything they need to know and do in an easy to follow step-by-step process. But strong leaders understand the value of letting people find the solution for themselves. The feeling of pride and accomplishment that comes from having the opportunity to create your own success. They provide support and encouragement in an environment that promotes learning and growth.
The leader sets the tone
for the whole group. If a leader is passionate, he or she inspires passion. By having conviction in the success of the project and the people involved they will see that same conviction staring back at them on the faces of the people on their team.
You got the interview and it’s going well but the questions have come around to difficult or negative situations. For example, they might ask you to describe a negative situation or person you had to deal with in the past.
Keep the soap opera out of it
The employer is asking about difficult situations or people to see how you handle yourself professionally in those situations. They don’t want a long drawn out discussion about the impossible person you had to deal with or all the rotten things that happened in association with the situation.
Essentially, they’re looking for the positives buried in the negatives. That means if there are no positives do not use that example! Instead find one where because of your hard work or problem solving or negotiating skills a negative was turned into a positive.
Don’t try and skirt the issue
Some people try to find a work around for the question by saying they have never dealt with a negative situation or person. Well no one is going to believe that. Every one of us runs into negatives all the time. If not professionally then personally or on the bus or in a grocery store. If you have been asked a question then find a way to answer it.
Before your job interview anticipate this question and come up with a few situations in which you can demonstrate your ability at turning negatives into positives. Describe the situation and the steps you took to resolve it. Remember to highlight your great contributions!
Don’t speak badly about your last employer
Even if your last work situation was hell on earth with an impossible to please boss and co-workers that made the thought of coming to work less palatable than the idea of skinny dipping with sharks don’t dwell on the negatives. You probably learned something from the experience. Touch on that quickly then end the discussion with it didn’t work out or we had different expectations. Something brief. Then talk about how excited you are at the prospect of new challenges and move the conversation back to the positives.
The courage to run into a burning building
When you see images of a firefighter running into a burning building to save the lives of people trapped in there your heart races with worry and fear. You can’t believe the courage this firefighter summons from the depths of their being every day of their lives.
Courage you see and courage you don’t
Some people have courage written into their job descriptions like firefighters, soldiers, emergency room doctors. However, not all acts of courage are that obvious at first glance.
The writer who has had a manuscript rejected several times, goes back into the work for more revisions then sends it off to another publisher. A person who has developed a fear of highway driving because of a car accident faces their worst fear when they venture onto the on ramp. A mediocre student who decides to put all their brain power into studying for LSATs despite words of discouragement on all sides are all examples of unseen courage.
All shapes and sizes
Some of the greatest acts of courage are the ones no one ever sees. When someone is working toward a goal and they encounter failure after failure and still manage to come back and try again, that is great courage. Getting up when you’ve fallen, facing a co-worker who intimidates you, saying yes because it’s the right thing to do even when you would prefer to say no are all courageous acts of rebellion against the easy comforts of staying down, staying quiet, saying no.
Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be loud as a lion and it can be quiet as a mouse. Courage is the ability to fail and try again. To be afraid and step forward anyway.
If you want to achieve anything you need to have a very clear idea of what you want to accomplish and why. That’s why it’s so important to make a specific list of your goals including the whys. I want to earn $60K a year isn’t enough. I want to earn $60K a year so I can buy a new car and live in a nicer apartment is better. Adding the why to your goal helps you stay motivated. It keeps you on track.
Give yourself a deadline
If you want to achieve a goal sometime in the future then you’ll probably get around to it sometime in the future. If you’re serious about achieving your goal then set yourself an achievable deadline. Not too close that you’ll freak out about not having enough time and not so far away that you can put off working toward it. A Goldilocks deadline that keeps you on your toes and motivated to keep at it.
Keep a running list
Maybe in order to achieve your goal you need to take a class or have lunch with a certain individual or achieve a smaller goal first. To keep yourself on track it’s helpful to keep a running list of what you need to accomplish on the way to achieving the goal. The list isn’t something that needs to be written in stone. It’s more fluid and changeable, something that grows and shrinks as the goal evolves. As you think of new items, add them to your list.
When we have a list of things to do, sometimes it’s tempting to do the easiest things first, or the ones we like to do most. Which leaves the hardest things and the things we least want to do for the end where they may fall through the cracks left by a loss in motivation. Look at your list and prioritize it, then set about accomplishing those things in order.
Keep the momentum going
Working towards goals is something that needs to be part of everyday. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about staying motivated and continuing to believe in yourself and what you can accomplish.
Interviews are nerve wracking and even though you may have great experiences or qualifications that would make you an idea candidate, sometimes it’s hard to get that across in the moment. Unless you prepared to answer the questions using the STAR (Situation/Task/Action/Result) technique.
By thinking about all your answers within a STAR framework you’ll be able to describe the work Situation or Task, the Actions you took to either finish the task or improve the situation and the fantastic Results of your efforts.
Question: What kind of experience do you have working in a team?
Start by describing the situation. The people involved, the challenges, goals the team had to work with/deal with. If were negatives associated with the experience, frame them as challenges that had to be overcome. Be specific. Don’t say I have worked in many teams. Talk about a specific team and the specific goals.
Approach task the same way you approached situation. Be specific about what exactly the team needed to accomplish. The skills people brought to the table and what (if anything) was lacking. If you can, describe a task or situation that is pertinent to the job you are applying for.
This is the time to highlight your role in the situation. What specific, measurable things did you do to bring about positive results. This is where you want to spend the most time in your answer. Talk about how you came to the action. Steps you took, people you connected with etc.
You’ve already talked about the actions you took, now you get to highlight the benefits of those actions. Give concrete examples of the result. The team was able to achieve 30% more efficiency, sales were increased by 15%, work flow was improved in XYZ ways.
During an interview people might remember to talk about actions taken then forget to discuss the result of those actions. Results are the icing on the cake!
Check out the answers to these questions using the STAR technique from Zety.com
The problem with comfortable
Do you ever feel like you’ve been going along on auto pilot for a while? Like you’re passing through life rather than living it? That starts to happen when we do the same thing day after day. We fall into patterns, get comfortable and without noticing, our life becomes more routine than anything else.
Years when you learned something new every day
When you were young learning was thrust upon you every day. As you worked towards your career goals you kept pushing into uncharted territories. And then you reached some of your goals and learning new things became less of a priority. Constant striving is exhausting. Everyone needs a break. The problem is when a break turns into a longer break. After an extended period of learning nothing new, the thought of doing it seems tiring. Then it seems daunting and then before you realize what’s happened, learning a new thing starts to feel impossible.
Exercise your learning muscle
When you’re in the learning groove, you’re used to the challenges. The stimulation, the triumph, the frustrations, the excitement of new information and ways of doing things are part of your everyday life. Even during the frustrating parts, learning new things is exhilarating.
Learning new things makes us feel like more than we are. Because we are actually adding to what we are. But when we haven’t done it for a while we forget how great and alive it makes us feel. And when we haven’t done it long enough we become too intimidated to even try. That’s why it’s so important to keep trying new things, to keep learning, no matter how daunted we may feel. “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”