Standing in a corridor responding to an email, a gentleman walked by and engaged me in a brief conversation. At the end of the conversation, he told me that if I wanted the best shoeshine I have ever had, stop by his stand in the shop down the hall. Since, until that day, I am the only one who had shined my shoes it was not hard to imagine that his might be the best shoeshine I had ever experienced.
I went into the shop for the shoeshine, not because I thought I needed one. I liked the gentleman. As he shined my shoes, we talked. He has shined shoes for 40 years, but is working on a college degree. His was an interesting story. At some point in the conversation, I asked him why he shines shoes. He said, “Because I love to shine shoes, that is why I am so good at it.” Talk about motivation at work.
I think he is on to something, don’t you? Love what you do and you will become good at it. That has implications for motivation.
As a leader, you desire those you lead to perform at high levels. They need to be focused and very productive. Leaders spend significant energy ensuring this occurs, struggling with employee motivation and accountability when it does not.
Have you ever had to hold someone accountable who loves what they do? I haven’t. There is no need for motivating employees in this scenario.
I was inspired to make sure I do what I love and love what I do that day. No one has had to motivate me or hold me accountable for that.
Here are four tips that will position you, as a leader, to enjoy the benefit of team members who love what they do.
Hire Them -
When you are interviewing people you will lead, ask them what they love to do. Make sure that at least some significant portion of their job is work they love to do.
Watch Them –
You can see the intensity, passion, and engagement that a person experiences when they love what they do. Many times, after a presentation, someone will express appreciation. I respond, “Thank you for letting me do what I love to do.” They tell me that it is obvious as they watch me.
Listen to Them –
Listen to what those you lead say about their work when not asked. Positive expressions made to customers, co-workers, suppliers, partners, or you provide insight. When you hear them, provide that person more opportunity to do what he or she loves to do.
Ask them -
If all else fails, ask them. You may raise a person’s own recognition of what he or she loves to do. By the way, it is a great question to ask yourself.
I have to admit, I can’t imagine loving many jobs that must be done (including shining shoes). I have also observed people who love to do most of those jobs.
You may not understand why a person you lead loves his or her job. That is ok. You don’t have to understand it to ensure both that person and you, as his or her leader, benefit.
What do you love about your work? Let me know in the comments below.