Reflect on what inspires people to gain true commitment versus influencing for mere compliance to bring a refined clarity to the organization's vision and mission.
- If we had our way, our teams would be comprised of near perfect humans, but alas, we're all works in progress, often with unrealistic expectations of the people and groups we select and lead. There's a lot of chatter these days about younger and older workers. It's easy to generalize when describing people in each generation. Generation Z is chompin' at the bit. Millennials feel demeaned. Gen-Xers are ignored, and Baby Boomers are simply apoplectic.
Here's the funny thing, the research does not support that generational differences actually exist. In fact, one's life stage best defines a cohort of people not some immutable characteristic based on the year you were born. So what actually inspires people across all generations? During my time in the Army, there were a lot of times we had to take turns carrying heavy objects over long distances. When a fellow soldier was engaged, committed, accountable, selfless, team-oriented, courageous, resourceful, resilient, humble, and disciplined, we'd often hear the phrase, let me carry that.
The other phrase that spoke volumes about an engaged team was can you take this? It's not only great to share the load, but a great team knows it's okay to ask each other for help. Have you created an environment where most of the people can do the right thing most of the time without supervision? Is the accountability to the right and to the left, or is it up and down? When I interviewed Liz Ryan from the Human Workplace, she said, if employees are paid decently, they appreciate different motivations, such as intellectual growth and creative challenges.
People need to connect to their own power source, whatever that is. When leading the organization, our job is to ensure an environment exists where engagement is a shared accountability.