“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Aristotle
As an Executive and Team Coach, I have noticed that consistently healthy, functioning and creative workplace teams have certain qualities that actualize the above quote. Healthy, engaged, creative and high-performing teams do not happen by accident, but by design. Let’s look at one critical element for this design to take shape.
Hire Intrinsically Motivated Team Members: This may seem like a truism that doesn’t need to be said, yet it does. In many of my workplace training and team coaching engagements, it is easy to spot when or if team members have intrinsic motivation to be part of that team. This brings us to the recruiting and hiring processes in organizations. In the hiring of an employee, many factors are considered in the final decision of who gets selected for the position. Qualifications, skill sets, certifications, work experience and references tend to be the main criteria. Of course these are important. When organizations only look at these criteria, they are at risk for making a critical error. On some level, engaged team members want to be there for their own reasons. They have a genuine interest, passion or desire to be in that role and it gives them deep purpose and meaning in their lives. I would rather hire someone with genuine intrinsic motivation to be part of my team with lesser rating in the above-mentioned criteria than someone who is eminently qualified, experienced and skilled but really does not genuinely care about their role, the team or the organization. Intrinsic motivation cannot be learned, but the other skills and qualifications can. Think of how many people go to university for a degree or to college/trade school for a certification to find out mid-way or at the end that this is something they are not interested or passionate about but was maybe a practical choice suggested by a friend or family member. Now they find themselves having invested significant time, energy and money (and are maybe in debt) and now feel obliged or coerced to take a position that they really do not want.
When I teach Mental Health in the Workplace trainings, I often ask my 10 million dollar question. The question goes something like this: “If you won 10 million dollars tonight, would you continue to do your current workplace role as is, no changes and no cherry-picking and keep doing it until the age you were planning on retiring?” The overwhelming response in groups is NO. The dominant theme in the NO is that most people do not want to go to work under their current circumstances. A big reason for that is they do not have intrinsic motivation to be there and are often there for extrinsic reasons, namely a paycheck. The challenge for organizations and executive leadership is to create roles and opportunities that offer these qualities of interest, passion and meaning and to hire only those who align with them and not make the mistake of just getting a “bum in the seat.”
If you are wanting support on best practices around finding, recruiting, hiring and supporting intrinsically motivated people to join and remain on your team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org