Understanding your own motives helps make you a more successful leader

Successful givers regularly set aside ‘me time’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 January, 2016, 10:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 January, 2016, 10:00am

’Tis the season for regret. Early January is when many people make New Year resolutions based, at least in part, on what we think we’ve got wrong. We ate too much turkey, drank too much egg nog, and haven’t actually managed to use that new gym membership.

Before you start to pour wine down the sink and commit yourself to the latest draconian diet, it might be worth stepping back and thinking about what’s motivating you to take such drastic action. If it is something as simple as seasonal over indulgence, you may be better served with a more balanced reaction. For example, the “everything in moderation” diet may be a more constructive course of action.

Understanding your own motives helps you make better decisions and in management, it makes you a more successful leader.

When a manager is all in just for him- or herself, peers see right through it

Over time, employees are usually able to determine what your true motives are based on your actions. If you want your team to step up its game, you’re more likely to spend time coaching, mentoring and promoting collaboration. It will become clear to your team that you are motivated by the success of the group. This in turn will ensure you have their support.

We have all worked with one or two people that are overtly focused on their own career advancement above all else. This becomes self-evident through their day-to-day interactions. They only help out when they know the favour will be reciprocated or when they know their bosses are watching.

When a manager is all in just for him- or herself, peers see right through it. They recognise the traits of a manager who is self-centred and less inclined to offer unsolicited help or advice to support a colleague. The likelihood of building mutually beneficial two-way bridges evaporates.

However, if you’re generous with your time, your generosity will create deeper relationships, open wider networks and win the loyalty of colleagues and customers.

This doesn’t mean leaders have to give, give, all the time. There has to be a balance. While focusing on supporting, enabling and mentoring becomes increasingly important as you rise in your career, you will also have bigger and more complex responsibilities that require focus. So it is critical to make sure you give yourself sufficient time to get your work done. Successful givers regularly set aside “me time”, where they can focus on getting important things done to advance their individual contributions to the group’s success.

If you step back and think about what’s motivating you, it will help you make the right decision, be authentic in your leadership style and ensure you can focus on what’s good for you and the team.

Ravi Chhabra leads Accenture’s financial services business in Hong Kong