Petra worked on my product development team and led all in-flight projects. She brought a university degree in computer science, was smart, charismatic, and had salient leadership qualities. But still, she didn’t perform well in her management role.
On a joint trip to a customer meeting, we had ample time to talk. At some point, I directed our conversation towards her dreams and aspirations. She became thoughtful and a bit hesitant. I then learned that she loved both application development and leadership roles, but that she was undecided about which career path to take.
She further confessed that this indecisiveness even impacted her daily job noticeably. She told me that the teams often complained about her in-depth involvement in the projects’ technological part and the lack of required leadership support she then exposed.
The inner tension Petra went through is quite common among young project managers and team leaders in IT. Some strike the right balance between functional involvement and leadership responsibilities. Others fancy instead with the first subject matter expert role.
But the successful motivation of teams starts with the leaders’ type of motivation to engage people. Team leaders have to ask themselves why they are in a leadership role in the first place, whether they deem it just a career step or a heartfelt calling.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I so often stumble upon this quote by Steve Jobs. It explicitly reflects the finding of motivational science, that we are best at tasks we are intrinsically driven by.
The same holds true for leading and motivating people. Loving to engage employees makes the difference between effective and ineffective leaders, and ultimately between high and low employee engagement.
D.R.I.V.E., our mentoring program uniquely helps team leaders to understand their motivation type and how to optimize it in the best possible way.
If you want to learn more, get the program guide today!