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How a desire to lead can drive motivation in the workplace

Leader Preference
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Professional preferences

Leader preference is a tough one to navigate, often to do well in companies we are taught that leadership is a requirement to be promoted. But not everyone is an innate leader or conversely is even motivated to lead. For those high in leader preference, they want to take responsibility for others, manage the achievement and goals of others, or implement development or disciplinary action. For those low on leader preference, they are not interested in the disciplinary nature of leadership, preferring to influence or train or take on a mentor role over the formal leadership responsibility.

Understanding your propensity for leadership and accepting whether it is a true motivator for you, rather than a pre-designed promotional path will help you thrive. Share this knowledge with your manager, to help them understand the type of role that would be suited to you., enabling your manager to design your role to suit your professional preference.

How people higher on the scale are motivated

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You love to lead, you like being responsible for others and their career paths. You like to conduct regular check-ins, yearly reviews, and coaching in a formal setting. You see your role as a manager to lead others, no to do the work yourself. You can handle the pressure and stress of people management, taking on tasks and the role with confidence. Because you yourself are highly motivated and exhibit self-efficacy, you are able to motivate others to follow suit. Your heir high level of assertiveness suggests a decisive nature, one which will keep a team on task and help you handle personnel conflicts. You are prone to dominate social situations to exhibit your propensity to leadership.

Actions for people higher on the scale to improve

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Seek opportunities to lead, to give direction and to share your feedback. Create structure and clear tasks around the deliverables and give consistent time and feedback as required to help employees to achieve their goals. If you are not currently a manager, seek management roles and opportunities where you can begin to develop your skills as a coach and sponsor. Remember a people managers job is to lead their people to success, so seek to delegate all tasks and manage them to succeed at those tasks.

Improvement checklist for people higher on the scale

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  • Are you responsible for people?
  • Do you help others achieve success?
  • Can you seek promotion to a management role?
  • Are you training as a coach or mentor?

How people lower on the scale are motivated

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You do not like to have formal responsibility for others and do not want to manage people and their lives or careers. Leadership is not a motivator for you, and leading others would actually create a stressful environment for you. You are not always assertive or self-motivated, and therefore would not want to ensure that in others and would not want to enforce deadlines. You prefer to achieve your own goals and fulfill your own responsibilities and leave others to the task of leading the business overall. You do not like conflict and see people management as highly stressful.

Actions for people lower on the scale to improve

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Seek to ensure that promotions are not necessarily aligned with managing people but rather creating an expert role for you to succeed in. Aim to avoid formal people management or disciplinary positions, and seek to give constructive feedback to others more informally, acting as a mentor rather than their management coach.

Improvement checklist for people lower on the scale

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  • Are you in an expert role?
  • Are you interested in directing others in their tasks or roles?
  • Do I have the opportunity to work with others without leading them?
  • Is there reduced personnel conflict through your workday?


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