In our research we have found that when individuals are fulfilled in their job they not only produce higher quality work and a greater output, but also generally earn higher incomes. And those most satisfied with their work are also 150 percent more likely to have a happier life overall. In our efforts over the last few years, we have found seven things that most motivated, fulfilled staff do not do:
They do not chase money – motivation is not about doing what anyone else thinks is right for you, nor is it necessarily about chasing a job that pays well. It’s about aligning more of your work with what drives you. People differ enormously in what makes them happy-for some challenge, excelling and pressure are the greatest sources of happiness, for others money and prestige, but for others service, friendship and fun are more satisfying in a workplace. The trick is in identifying your core drivers and then aligning your work to do more of what you love and little less of what frustrates you.
They do not wait for a manager to motivate them – the truth is, very few leaders in professional service firms really know what motivates their staff or, even if they do, would know how to apply that information to their day-to-day work. Motivated individuals have discovered that the surest way to happier and more successful work lives is: first, understanding what drives you and then second, doing some adapting of the nature of your job or tasks to better match duties with passion. That involves working with a manager, partner or director of course, but most motivated people lead this effort themselves. They take charge of their careers.
They do not leave to chase a dream job – there is a prevalent notion that if you’re unhappy with your work it will take a huge effort to change things so that you have to quit and find your “dream job”. That’s not to say motivated people never change departments or firms. Most people do not need to take a risky leap, instead they need to start by making small but important changes in their work lives. Many of the happiest people we’ve spoken with did not find their bliss down a new path; they made course corrections on the path they were already on.
They do not believe everyone is motivated like they are – one of the traps most of us can fall into is believing that other people are driven by the same things we are. Perhaps the majority of the team members are what we call “builders”- people who are focused on high-minded ideals like developing others, service, teamwork and a greater purpose. On the team are also a handful of people we would classify as “achievers, thinkers and reward-driven”, and then there are those who feel unappreciated. Great strength comes in recognising, understanding, appreciating and treating diversity.
They do not focus inward – the happiest typically focus their work efforts in service of others rather than on self-gain. That may mean they achieve more or sell more or do more because they truly believe in their services and genuinely believe they are helping their clients versus those who only work from 8 to 5 and receive a pay check. It’s a subtle change in thinking, but it’s important. Most people perform at work better when they focus their energy toward serving people instead of themselves.
They do not hang out with negative people – we all know who they are, there are always a group of people who complain about everything at the office. The most motivated people avoid this petulant bunch. Complaining with no solution is a toxic habit. Sometimes making a positive difference at work is simply a matter of how a person chooses to think.
They do not compare themselves to others – motivated staff do not waste time comparing themselves to those who have more. Instead, they regularly express gratitude for having work, earning a salary, the efforts of management, resources, their income, their working environment and the relationships they do have.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.