Self-Interest—What’s in It for Me?

Chaper 2 Pg’s 51 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki

Is self-interest consistent with being a loving leader? Can you put your self-interest over the interest of the team? Obviously, if you truly love the members of your team, then it is hard to imagine that you would allow yourself to put your interests above theirs. that said, most leaders like to envision the day when they are promoted. You would be quite unusual if you did not have those visions of your future.

Keep in mind your staff members are probably not trying to get you a promotion. If they think you are a great leader, they probably would prefer you to stay right where you are. If they don’t, they probably would like to see you tired. Even if they think you are the best boss they’ve ever had, your success is not likely to be their highest priority.

 Actually, they probably want a promotion themselves. It’s not that all of your staff members are self-centered and uncaring. They are looking forward to their own future, even if that means next week. Whatever your expectations of them, they are not likely to try to achieve those expectations just because it will make you look good or make the company beat the competition. They are much more likely to try to achieve organizational peak performance expectations or goals if they find a way to achieve their own personal goals simultaneously. They are probably much more interested in what they will get from the organization’s success. That is fine as long as the organization wins as well. Hence, when you set expectations, make certain that staff members know what it means to them if they achieve the standard.

 Imagine what your staff members might be thinking: If meeting the expectation means I am forced to work ten hours of overtime a week, then that may be very tough for me. Why should I do that if I cannot see why it is good for me as well? It may mean I get a chance to keep my job; it may mean that I will get some overtime pay; or it may mean all I get is tired.

 “What is in it for me?” is a natural question, and you must be able to answer it. Leaders must use the staff members’ self-interest to the organization’s advantage. When individuals focus on efforts that satisfy self-interest, while at the same time supporting productive team results, the individual, the team, and the entire organization wins.

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