Friday, May 05, 2006

Do not assume others' motivations are the same as your own

One of the assumptions we make as children is that all others around us think like us. As we mature, we do learn that others use logic differently, are influenced by emotion differently, yet most people assume that others are driven by the same motivation. This is not true. Some are influenced by money, others by power, while yet others seek knowledge.
We know this intellectually, but we do not internalize it very well. Managers assume that subordinates are motivated by the same things they are. Understanding what drives others is a key first step in managing others and even more when you have to achieve tasks through others whom you do not control. Even subordinates can sabotage your efforts if you fail to appreciate what drives them and you attempt to use something which actually gets them to act against you - quite possible if you choose money to motivate someone who is motivated by wanting to help others for example.

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