What Makes Employees Willingly Go Above And Beyond In Pursuit Of The Organisation’s Objectives?
March 22, 2018 - By Wendy Lambourne, Director, MA Industrial and Organisation Psychology, Registered Psychologist with SA Medical & Dental Council
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To understand what makes an employee go above and beyond in pursuit of an organisation’s objectives, we need to first figure out what accounts for people’s motivation or willingness at work.
At Legitimate Leadership we have come to believe that there are really only three reasons why employees will go the extra mile at work.
They do so because:
- Firstly, they believe that the goals and objectives of the organisation that they work for are worth going the extra mile for. They can identify with and hence commit to the organisation’s purpose or “why” it exists. For the “why” to be motivating, it cannot be about increased return on investment (ROI) to shareholders. Rather the “why” has to be about making a contribution to others – to customers, to society, or even the world at large. Only when employees feel that they have been given an opportunity to be part of something eminently worthwhile will they be willing.
- Secondly, they report to the kind of manager that kindles in them a preparedness to do not just what is asked, but much, much more than that. They report to someone who they believe has their best interests at heart, who is there to serve their people and not the other way around.
This person solicits employee willingness because he/she sees it as his/her job to enable the best in those who report to him/her by caring for and growing them. When employees experience the person they report to as being here to “give” (to help them to realise the best in themselves) rather than to “get” results out of them, their natural response is to reciprocate. That is, to willingly go above and beyond in pursuit of the organisation’s objectives.
- Thirdly, they have such a passion for the work that they do that they want to apply all their skills and energy to doing it superbly well. Their fascination for the task at hand unleashes in them a preparedness to give their all to it. Their dedication and zeal comes from within. At the same time, it can be stimulated by reporting to someone who is him/her self absolutely passionate about what he/she does. Just as master craftsmen not only teach their apprentices a trade but imbuing them a love of it, so too can leaders inspire a love in their people for the work that they do.
All things being equal, a team of willing people outperforms one where the members of the team are not motivated. The primary task of anyone in a leadership role therefore has to be to solicit the willingness of those who report to them.
Ultimately of course how motivated or willing anyone is at work sits in his/her hands only. This is because motivation is a choice.
Nevertheless, how those at work are led is a significant determinant of how willing they are at work.