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My mistaken motivation mindset

The people on your team are motivated.

But they are not motivated by the same thing.

One programmer might be motivated by “cutting-edge technology.”

Another by “software quality”, and a third by “system scalability.”

These fall under the motivational factor Fredrick Herzberg termed, “the work itself.”

Your motivation

You are also motivated, but maybe not by cutting-edge technology, software quality, or system scalability.

You might be motivated by customer happiness, company profits, or product success.

When I was leading teams, I sometimes made the mistake of wishing my team was motivated by the same things I was.

“If only they would care about what’s really important”, I’d exclaim, “then we’d all be on the same page. Th my job would be easier.”

My work might have seemed easier, but my team would have been less effective.  That would have caused me much bigger headaches.

What I missed was the strength of differences.

If one person on your team is motivated by cutting edge technology, another by quality, and a third by scalability, then your team will consider multiple perspectives as they make decisions.

But if they all have the same motivation their decision-making may contain blind spots – perspectives and ideas they don’t consider.

Additionally, they will all be disinterested in the same things. Differences in motivation allow your team to move forward even though some people aren’t excited because others will be.

This is why superhero groups have a variety of superpowers and why cross-functional software groups work so well. 🙂

Difference equals strength, not weakness.

How might you help your team discuss their differences, and see them as a superpower?

Best,
Marcus

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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