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Bucket #3: the service mindset

In this last write up we talked about 3 motivations that people tend to confuse with the concept of “purpose” as it relates to their work. Many of us assume that money is the reason we work because money is essential to maintaining the lifestyle you want to have. The truth is financial gains are only the beginning. Sure, money literally buys us the life we want to live. But for some, like those driven by internal motivations, the pursuit of self-gratification is what gets us out of bed in the morning.  Check out our articles on the money motivator, and about internal motivations. Now let’s dive into the third bucket: External Motivation. Of the 3 buckets,  this is the only motivation that stems from a service mindset – and – surprise! – it’s the place where true “purpose” exists.

Bucket #3: External motivations

As I’ve said before, everyone needs to make money to survive, and for people who do their jobs well, internal motivations – like a good reputation, enjoying what they do, belonging, and more – will come as well. But when external motivation is the dominant one of the three, people feel like they’re contributing to something much greater than themselves. They have purpose.

These employees value that what they “do” is positively impacting other humans. They are motivated by helping, serving, supporting, and solving problems for others; their efforts make things better or easier for someone else. 

An employee who leads with external gratification will stay after hours to get the job done. They will propose solutions to problems even if they aren’t asked to do so. They have a continuous improvement mindset and are great candidates for the leadership track. With their service-based mindset and purpose-driven motivation, they will find the transition from individual contributor to team leader as a more seamless one; this is because they are already well-primed to motivate their team intuitively from a place of service.

In the end, why should you spend time trying to understand the motivation mindset of your team members? Knowing the dominant bucket of your individual team members is essential if you’re going to lead your team to new collaborative, innovative, and productive heights. If you provide them with the opportunity to earn what they need to be fulfilled – whether that is money and financial gains, self-gratification, or serving others. And to take this one step further, if you’re able to help each person identify a greater purpose, while also acknowledging their other needs (like money and internal gratification) you will end up developing a highly engaged and deeply motivated team.


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