Why do some people work so much harder than others? Some might say they do it because of martyrdom or the pursuit of accolades. But my experience has shown that those who do more than expected simply love the job and want to contribute to the team’s success.
However, that is not the whole story. Significant effort is often modeled by company leaders. These are the people who recognize effort in others as well.
I see this kind of devotion as evidence of a lovable company, in which everyone is contributing 100 percent.
I discuss what I call the “100 + 100 = 100” principle in my new book, Lovability. If the so-called management or individual contributors fall short in the relationship, then trust will inevitably break down. 100 + 100 = 100 means that everyone is giving their best effort towards achieving the same goal.
Sure, we are all partially motivated by our own self-interest and our desire to live well. We deserve to be compensated for that hard work. But do you also have an internal drive to do what is right — for yourself and for the team?
Being productive and making a meaningful difference in other people’s lives is the higher reward. Doing well as a team is more rewarding (and harder) than succeeding alone. This is true for most people, whether you are a leader or a contributor within your organization.
If this makes sense to you, then you also understand how your success and your boss’s success are connected.
If you can both hold up your ends of this crucial relationship, you will love each other for it. Here is how you can both contribute:
Share the vision
What vision is the company striving towards — and how does the work fit into this bigger picture? The vision must not be an afterthought, but woven into the fabric of the organization and held up as the ideal for everyone. Leaders share their view, and the team takes understanding and refining it seriously — asking questions, clarifying what it means, and carrying it out even when things get tough.
Make a commitment
Success requires an upfront commitment to the unknown — going all-in on trust. The reality is that life and business are both adventures. Nothing is guaranteed for most of us except the freedom to pursue being our best. So, the best thing leaders can do is to trust the team and demonstrate their commitment. It makes it that much easier for everyone to focus on getting things done.
Put people first
At some companies, people hoard knowledge or push others aside only to enrich themselves. But when you focus instead on building up others, you can help everyone grow and live a more sustainably happy life. (And you will improve in the process too.) Putting people first is a shared responsibility, but it starts with the example set by company leaders.
Even the greatest organizations are full of imperfect humans who make errors. All we can do is own this fallibility and strive to improve and learn more every day. But do not be foolish — failure is not the aim of trying. However, when you can rally the entire company around the actions above, your efforts will result in achievement more often than not.
Now, the 100 + 100 = 100 principle only works when there is a foundation of trust. This is everyone’s responsibility — to build and grow commitment.
This mutual trust is what great companies nurture. When trust exists in your organization, others will jump in to help at a moment’s notice. This is love in action. It only works when everyone knows they can depend on it.
Just like any relationship, if you are the one doing all the heavy lifting, it will breed resentment. And in a lovable company, sometimes the organization’s needs will come first, and other times your needs will. That is how it has to be. Embrace it and you and your boss will love each other.
What motivates your work?