I hurried from the student union building heading west. I was early, not by much, but I wanted to set up in time. Words of advice popped into my head "If you're right on time, you're late." Argh
My phone vibrated.
"Hey bro! Can't make it to the meeting, sorry, see you next week"
Again? I sighed and kept up the brisk pace.
Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.
The building was quiet. Not surprising, considering it was pitch black outside and daylight savings had fallen back recently. I got to the meeting room and smiled. People were already here. They looked up at my arrival and nodded and smiled back. The same five people who were always early were here before me again. I'm glad they have the discipline to be accountable. It's great that they're eager to be here too. Less dragging on my part.
I was only 3 minutes early, so I set up the agenda for the day and chitchatted with everybody, checking to see how everybody was doing. Andrew and Josh were relaxed because their midterms were all over, Pam was chilling with Michelle, and Brian was finishing up his report.
They say that the hardest thing is motivating people, especially if they're volunteers. Why? Because it's an excellent sign when you can motivate people who don't get paid.
In my various roles as a leader, I kept on hitting the same wall.
I would invest large amounts of time and effort into creating new concepts/outlines for my group to learn, new projects for them to do, new assignments that would push them to teach themselves, and new deadlines for them to fulfill the roles/tasks they had signed up for.
I felt drained and feeling like I was dragging an elephant to a waterhole.
I'd ask myself questions like
"Why won't they do their job?"
"How do I stop babying them?"
"How do I get them to take initiative?"
I felt lost in trying to motivate those in my group do the things I wanted them to.
Then it hit me. I was approaching it the entirely wrong way.
Some things were clear, some things weren't. Here were some concepts that were obviously valuable to the group, but I had to question whether they were being utilized.
1. Effort from a leader: Check.
Of course you're going to want to put in effort into your organization to get something out. People like seeing that their boss is working too. That wasn't it, that was something I did well and perhaps too much of.
Potential problem: Nurturing/babying the group.
2. Proposing new ideas/deadlines/assignments for the wellness of the group: Check. Kinda.
But I could improve on that - because all the new ideas came from me, and not them.
Potential problem: Again, over-nurturing.
I was coming at it from an approach that implied "I want us to do this." I was being accountable to the well being of our group and it was for "us" - but the concept of "we" was barely there. I'd throw out ideas, my group would like some, turn down others, and take some of them and roll with them.
The downside was that it was tiring for me to continue racking up my brain to improve the groups productivity. It also shouldn't be me all the time. The group should want to contribute ideas...right? Why should they do that and How?
3. The view that people should be accountable: Check.
If you're going to sign up for a role, then I will make sure that you are accountable to doing what you said you were going to.
Potential problem: Again, it was me. Should I be the person holding everybody accountable or should it be a group effort?
4. The view that people should take initiative. Nope.
This is a good thing that was not there.
The question was how to increase 'initiative'. This was missing.
This situation was pretty complex. There was a need to figure how/why people take the initiative to propose new ideas/projects and PARTICIPATE.
I needed to motivate them to be creative and hardworking.
Daniel Pink, author of Drive, posed that Autonomy leads to creative motivation. If a person feels that he/has the freedom to do his/her job, then motivation increases, along with creativity and flow.
Sad thing is, I still don't have the answer.
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.