American Psychologist Frederick Herzberg made the assertion that our most powerful motivator at work is never money. Herzberg defined four powerful motivators. Each cultivate a deep sense of positive change and happiness in your career.
1. Opportunity to learn.
You'll never have a feeling of accomplishment or forward momentum if you're not learning. If you can be in an environment where you find joy in learning more about what you're working on, then happiness isn't far off.
I've noticed that the moment I feel I've mastered a job, I get bored. Maybe you've felt that way too? If you feel this, yet you don't push to learn more and seek greater responsibility you may be in trouble.
2. Growth in responsibilities.
Coupled with your thirst for knowledge should be an accompanied thirst for responsibility. As you learn you can see the bigger picture. This will effect the way you see your company in the wider business ecosystem.
Congratulations -- you're beginning to see the edges of middle management slowly melt away.
3. Contribute to others.
The first time I mentored someone it happened organically. An intern sat across from me. He shared that he was a journalism major. I asked where I could find his blog. He didn't have one. I asked him if thought there may be value for him if he kept a blog for the years that he was in school?
I felt that a blog would add value in his job seeking process when he could share this body of work to a potential employer. The next day he showed me his newly created blog. This simple interaction invigorated me.
I love teaching and helping. The psychological and spiritual reward is greater than any financial bonus.
4. Recognition for achievements.
We all love it when we're praised for a job well done. The way to amplify these effects for your team is to praise employees publicly. It costs nothing, and can reap dividends.
If you're still feeling skeptical about these four pillars., I'd like you to imagine two scenarios:
A. An executive commutes home at the end of a long day. She's feeling under appreciated at work. This frustrates her. She knows she can contribute more, but she's underutilized. Because she feels under appreciated at work, her self esteem is low. This frustration bubbles into her home life. When she gets home she has a short fuse. Her children sense this, and distance themselves from her. A domino affect of negativity metastasizes in her life. All because she feels under appreciated at work.
B. The same executive commutes home at the end of a similar work day. Yet this time, she feels energized because she has learned so much that day. She was also recognized for her hard work, and upward movement of the project she's working on. She's come home in high spirits, with a spring in her step. Her mood trickles down to her interactions with her children. She's engaged with them at the dinner table. The whole family is buzzing and interacting. In that moment at the dinner table, she reflects that she feels happy.
I would argue that her manager has greater control over the happiness in this executives life then her spouse. This is a real responsibility we have as managers. I cannot overstate this.
You can change the trajectory of your teams lives if you allow for them to find happiness through these four powerful habits.
If you're the employee in this scenario and you see yourself in scenario "A," maybe it's time to move on. Make sure you understand how these four things effect you so you don't make the same mistake at your next job.