6 Degrees Of Motivation

They're the sources of inspiration for the new worker. Find out which ones stimulate you to perform at your peak.

impatient with corporate norms and procedures and have little allegiance to the corporation. Hanging around the office too long or being forced to go to an endless round of meetings makes them antsy. They are motivated by autonomy, and need to feel they are living in a free-form world that they can shape. . . .

Independent thinkers are uncomfortable with “received wisdom,” preferring to create or invent their own way. They are prepared to take full responsibility for their successes and failures. But in order to do so, they have to be in charge. . . . [They are] responsive to having money at risk-whether a bonus, commission, or other type of pay for performance. . . .

Personal mantra: “I work to live, not live to work. I want to enjoy my work, but it’s also a means to an end. I want the flexibility to pursue my own personal passions.”

The breakdown: A range of people fall into this category: young resort workers who want the opportunity to pursue their love of outdoor activities; 30-something parents determined to balance their work and family life; midcareer individuals saddled with elder care responsibilities along with commitments to children; and young professionals who value the freedom to pursue personal priorities. . . .

They are typically prepared to work hard to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. But they expect their hard work to pay off, by buying them free time they can enjoy in the way they prefer.

Personal mantra: “As long as I’m learning, I’m happy.”

The breakdown: This category includes many 20-something contract workers, frequent job changers, as well as independent consultants. Most information technology professionals fall into this group.

Personal developers evaluate their work in terms of whether they’re being stretched, or whether they are acquiring a new skill. They are very quick to [get] bored, particularly if they are in what they see as a dead-end job. Although not risk takers by nature, they are prepared to take career risks if it will stretch them or expose them to a new arena in which they can acquire new skills.

Personal developers are not without ambition. For many of them, it’s important to advance in their careers and become players in their profession. But their identification is very much to their profession and their work, and not to any particular employer. . . .

Personal mantra: “I want to get ahead, and I am willing to make the necessary sacrifices.”

The breakdown: Most careerists resemble the profile of traditional baby boomers who evaluated their success in terms of opportunities for advancement and increasing work responsibility. . . .

Careerists are ambitious, motivated by prestige and status. They recognize that as they move up the ladder, they may be moving into other areas that reflect increasing responsibilities. A young lawyer looking down the road, for example, may equally see himself as partner in a large firm, a chief corporate secretary, or head of his own firm.

Personal mantra: “I gotta be me.”

The breakdown: Individuals motivated by authenticity refuse to “hang up their personality” at the door.

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