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The Biggest Drivers

One of the biggest motivations which drives people towards achieving perfection in work is the (actual or illusionary) realization of the importance of their work. All other factors are merely hygienic - money, designation, working conditions - all merely ensure that one is motivated to perform 'good enough'. However, in absence of the 'work worth realization' (lets call it WWR from now on) - the extra bit of dedication is hard to come by.

The best illustration of this would be in the Army. Irrespective of the designation or salary everyone - from the highest ranked officers to the foot soldier - is dedicated to the extent of his/her lives. What motivation can there be to give one's life for, if not the fact that the job is more important than your life, that winning the war is infinitely more important than the salary or benefits you will accrue as a part of your job (if you would live on!).

Similarly, have you ever come across a sweeper who makes sure that not even the smallest dust particle escapes his broom? Have you ever come across a peon who makes sure he remembers the drink preferences of each employee and serves the correct drink to each one? I have come across many such people. In contrast, I have also come across white collar workers who just work to complete the job and never aim perfection.

Increasingly, as economies across the world develop, the parity between salaries decreases, basic amenities of life become easier to come by, some of them coming at no cost (for example free Health Care in most West European countries). In such a scenario, WWR remains the only driver to get superior performance from workers.

As a result, traditional management techniques of using money, designation and job role changes to motivate people are becoming redundant and leadership skills are becoming more important. One can also argue that while politicians are being forced to introduce management techniques like performance measurement in their work, managers are being forced to use leadership and motivation techniques, which have been forte of politics.

The Managers of future will have to be good leaders as well as good managers if they expect to get exceptional quality of work from their subordinates. The challenges ahead for managers are immensely complex yet as much interesting!


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