Ask any fist line or second line manager what his or her biggest challenges are, there is a 8-on-10 chance that the top 3 would contain something related to motivating and aligning people to common objectives. Everyone has their own motivators and personal goals, and primary use they see of an organization or employer is to meet those goals. And many managers fail because they are either not interested in understanding this and try to push their own goals unilaterally, or try to be nice to everyone and in the process fail to meet any of the expectations – of their own managers and people they are responsible for. As a result, it’s a common conclusion that identifying the motivators of each of their employees and providing appropriate avenues for that is a futile exercise since it is so diverse and hence might not be feasible to achieve.
Though this is a very valid argument and also true in many instances, one common need I have noticed in my experience is, almost all employees want GROWTH. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that every human being has various degrees of needs at various stages.
In my experience, what I have noticed is, all employees want growth or evolution in whichever stage of need they are in. The true challenge for any manager is to figure out which stage the employee is in, and enable an environment of growth in the stage. Sometimes it will work, and many times it might not. This would also hold good while managing upwards. For managers to really succeed, it’s better to understand what is implied as the “need of the hour” for the organization and enable people achieve growth in that need – rather than “meeting” those needs. And personally, I have failed on this many times. In my opinion, truly successful managers are those that are able to enable an environment of constant growth for the organizational needs and the needs of people whom they work with.
And leadership maturity is having the ability to differentiate between providing “opportunities to satisfy a need” and “opportunities for growth in that need”.
What do you think? Should managers concentrate on satisfying particular needs or providing growth in a desired area?