6 ways to identify what motivates your leadership style

What motivates you to lead?

Not something superficial like making money, but the motivation that strikes a chord with you when your work and what truly drives you are in alignment.

In conversations I have been having with leaders, many have admitted to being exhausted or feeling burnt out at the moment. For some, this is because of the added pressures of being in charge through a pandemic. Others are finding themselves less motivated to stay with their current positions or to participate in their present organization.

Alan Stein Jr. is an author, corporate keynote speaker, and expert on high-performance. In his episode of the Toughest Call podcast, Alan talks about his shift from being an elite basketball trainer helping young men achieve their NBA dreams, to helping corporations tap into the elements of peak performance.

To achieve this pivot, Alan focused on what really excited him in his work: having the opportunity to inspire and motivate others to achieve their best.

How do you discover what you are truly passionate about and ensure that you're pursuing work that takes advantage of your talents?

If you have the energy to push forward when the obstacles seem insurmountable, your drive will carry you through your leadership journey.

In my experience, the reason that most leaders move forward often falls under one of six broad categories.

How leaders can manage their motivation

Alan knew that he needed to uncover the emotions that led him to burnout in his career before he could inspire others in theirs. Identifying your motivational drive is key to maintaining inspiration through the ups and downs of your leadership career.

If you're trying to understand your own leadership style, then start paying attention to how you react when things go wrong or when things aren't going according to plan. Do you try and fix everything yourself? Or do you delegate tasks and give others autonomy? Do you blame others? Or do you take responsibility?

Watch my video analysis above to discover which of the top six motivational drivers inspire your leadership style.

1. Belonging

Belonging is the drive for companionship with others as part of a peer group. When one doesn't feel a drive is being fulfilled, one is more likely to feel estranged from others.

People with a drive to belong tend to be sociable, while those who are not really passionate about acceptance tend to favour spending more time by themselves.

A leader who yearns for belonging will feel a profound sense of emptiness upon being excluded from a group. One who does not seem to need the acceptance of others, or does not require acceptance as much, will not be hurt as much by exclusion or rejection. This is because they have other goals that satisfy the need for acceptance.

2. Wisdom

Wisdom is the drive for understanding. When you are pursuing wisdom, you likely feel a sense of wonder. If your goal is seeking wisdom, but what you are working on doesn't go along with that, you'll likely feel disconnected or indifferent.

People with a drive for wisdom embrace intellectual pursuits and spend a great deal of their time thinking, reading, writing, and conversing.

For those that do not find wisdom motivating, they would find an intellectual or academic pursuit to be dull and tedious.

3. Loyalty

True loyalty produces motivation to keep a moral code, while a lack of connection often produces feelings of guilt or shame.

Some with a strong drive for loyalty may emphasize personal qualities like morality and character. On the other hand, those who don't have this drive are more likely to take the easy way out by looking at a more tangible goal.

Great leaders know that money or fear aren't the only reasons that people will respect and follow them.

4. Justice

A quest for justice drives people to care about social causes, be aware of current events, or give to charities. The pursuit of this feeling will give you compassion; if you’re frustrated, you’ll experience outrage.

Individuals with a strong desire for justice are drawn to such social causes as world peace, uplifting the oppressed, or world health. Those with little desire for justice tend to focus more on their own affairs and less on the state of society.

Good leaders keep tabs on what issues are important to their employees and help create a drive for justice at the company.

5. Autonomy

You are the DIY leader, motivated to make your own decisions and to value your personal freedom. When you are aligned with this drive for autonomy, you’ll feel joyful. If your leadership is not aligned, you’ll feel uncomfortable feelings of dependency.

Leaders with a strong drive for autonomy are self-reliant, but those that aren’t really moved by this motivation are inclined to trust others to meet their needs.

6. Harmony

Leaders with a strong drive for harmony feel the most comfortable when things are very organized. If you are a leader who is motivated by harmony, you will never be found without your trusty planner and you absolutely LOVE structure.

Leaders who are unmotivated by harmony are more likely to just “wing it” which will no doubt give you a heightened sense of anxiety if you're leading with harmony in mind.

Though no one is motivated purely by just one of these six principles, knowing your dominant drive will help you to customize your best blueprint for authentic motivational leadership.

What motivates you as a leader? Take the Assessment

To help you quickly identify your dominant drive, we created a free interactive assessment for you.

After your drive is revealed, you will also receive some tips on how to tap into it more each day.

Go to ToughestCall.com now and select the free Rapid Assessment titled What motivates you as a leader?

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