Tech Leadership In So Many Words … #14 Motivation

Andrew Weaver
August 4, 2023

When you’re a leader, motivation is a two-sided coin.

One side is Personal Motivation and what’s driving you.
The other is Team Motivation and what’s driving them.
The two being inextricably linked means we need to start with self. 

What is your reason for doing what you’re doing?

Are you being driven by an intrinsic motivation where your actions are spurred by internal rather than superficial rewards?

Or are you drifting on an autopilot that is impacting (and not in a positive way) your performance and your leadership?

Being honest with yourself about these questions will inform much of what’s going on around you …

Your personal impact and achievements
Your ability to lead and bring people with you
Your overall contentment with the world

Here is my truth.

I was once employed and handsomely rewarded in a senior leadership role.
Great colleagues, easy lifestyle, relatively few worries.
Bored as hell.

I hadn’t aligned any of my core values with my day job.
I had zero intrinsic motivation and it was beginning to show.
One day I woke up and had that honest discussion with myself.
I quit.

The most effective leaders are those whose career motivation is aligned with their core values.

Leadership comes more naturally when the individual finds a flow between their role and their values.

But how do you know what those core values are?
Few people ever drill down deep enough to discover the principles that matter most to them. 

It requires careful reflection, objective analysis via coach or close friend, and some of that aforementioned honest questioning.

And of course it’s not just about the job or the company.
It’s about whether your career is on the right trajectory.

We work with global tech leaders to build their leadership skills but sometimes, it’s just not the right fit. Leadership is not something they fit. Tough decisions need to be made.

If you’re at the start of the journey then one essential question you need to ask … why do you want to become a leader?

Ideally the answer should be that you have no choice.
You simply cannot not be a leader.

Your instinct to lead is so strong that it’s part of who you are.
To lead, inspire, change, motivate and impact on others and the surroundings around you.
If you don’t feel you have that instinct, your other motivations may not matter. 

But of course being a leader also means that you now have to take into account and understand the motivation and ambition of others particularly those working closest to you, your team.

You will be highly fortunate and unusual if these always align with your own.

So a critical element of leadership is to understand and have the capacity to learn about what drives your colleagues and from there, to provide them with the opportunities to progress in their own careers — giving individuals the autonomy and training to thrive.

No room for fixed mindset and/or defensive leadership in 2023.

Support of this kind will increase employees’ motivation to work towards that common goal and have a significant impact on your ability to inspire and retain.

Your ability to listen, willingness to encourage discussion and capacity to display sincere interest and enthusiasm, will create an environment and culture that allows your team, with all its different motivations, to operate at its full potential.

And remember — however strong your desire to succeed in your career, it is important not to be overwhelmed by it. The same goes for individuals in your team.

Ambition should always be balanced with a wider and holistic approach to a quality of life. 

The core value of life and relationships outside work should never be forgotten.

Want to find out more about CTO Academy and our Technology Leadership Courses, including lectures and discussions that look at Motivation and …. How To Discover Those Core Values

Visit the CTO Academy Website and in particular our executive leadership course, The Digital MBA for Technology Leaders winning rave reviews from technology leaders around the world.

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