I have worked in many environments from very large global companies to small startups. During that time, I have seen my share of different work ethics. And motivation plays a closely related part. Think of it as the finely tuned engine in a car is the work ethic and the fuel is the motivation. Navigating the myriad of paths to success requires both a healthy dose of motivation and a strong work ethic. Can you get away with less of either? Sure. But the results are directly related.
Finding what type of “fuel” you need is important. Not everyone is the same. As a manager it is important to determine what fuel your team needs…both as a team and each member individually. Not everyone is programmed the same and uses the same fuel. The same goes for you. What motivates you? What drives you and gets you going? What type of fuel do you need?
Inc.: 14 Easy Ways to Get Insanely Motivated
I found the best motivation in finding what you are passionate about. For some, they spend their entire career not knowing or understanding what they are passionate about. For others, it is clear as day and serves as a clear beacon in an otherwise foggy career path. It is this passion that often leads to success. Passion is another topic I could write volumes about. But alas will leave for another post.
Passion is often a heavy influencer of work ethic. Part of a good work ethic is in understanding your objectives. What are you working toward? What is your purpose and direction? And then there is one attribute that, in today’s life, can be hard to come by: Focus. Yes, focus. Recent discussions have suggested that multi-tasking is actually less productive than working on a single task at a time. For example, while writing this post, should I be checking email, listening to music, watching my Twitter feed? Or should I shut down the other information streams and just bang out a few lines of text. Personally, music motivates me. But the others can be distractions to many.
Beyond work environment, perspective plays a role too. How do you look at the job you do? Do you believe your job is more/ less important than your colleagues? How do you see your role with that of your team members? As a manager, I have felt it important to be “part of the team”. We all have a role to play from the most junior person to the most senior. But the bottom line is that we are all part of the same team. Jim Harbaugh (former Stanford University Football coach and current SF 49er NFL Football coach) gave a short pep talk that I believe highlights this point.
Jim Harbaugh on Work Ethics
As the world evolves, the role of leaders changes too. Historically, the manager or leader of the company carried quite a bit of power and control. In today’s world, that leverage is subsiding to the power of the team. It is the team that ultimately leads to success.
Economist: The Shackled Boss
Whether you are the President of the United States or the most junior manager, it does not matter. The role of a leader is much bigger than any one position. And the most junior person on the team is just as important as the most senior. Plus, do not forget that we were all the junior person on the team at one point. It was a leader that helped us grow and get to where we are today.