Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

The secret to feeling motivated at work

By Abhijit Bhaduri

The first working day of the week is always dreaded. The last day of the week is when people are already discussing their plans for the weekend with their colleagues at work. These discussions inevitably get competitive. “My weekend will be better than yours” is the general theme. Then the weekend comes and goes. On Monday morning, it is time to face the Inquisition in the office.

My colleague asks me, “How was the weekend?”

The only honest response to this question is to say, “It was short. Very short.”

If work is such a dreaded experience, why then do we work? Why are some people intrinsically motivated? There are many theories of motivation, but the one that I love for its simplicity says that human beings work for three basic drivers – Autonomy, Purpose and Mastery. That is what author Daniel Pink says. The idea resonates with me. Somewhat…

You’ve got to serve someone

We all value being able to work by ourselves. I get that. To be able to make decisions about our work sounds empowering. We like to choose, when we will work and how we will work. The feeling of being in charge is inherently appealing. But can we? The idea of having a boss who will look over our shoulder is a disgusting. Real autonomy is an illusion. Bob Dylan said it long back, “You’ve got to serve someone.” Even the CEO is answerable to the Board and the Board has to explain stuff to the shareholders. You might say that you are like me, an entrepreneur. You are accountable to your customer or client. Even an actor or artist has a million bosses in the audience who will feel judgment on their work. If you have a boss who loves to micro-manage, you can bid goodbye to autonomy. There goes one third of your motivation to show up on Monday morning.

Making the world a better place … yeah, right!

That leaves us to explore if finding a higher purpose that helps us to feel motivated. If you are a doctor saving lives, or a researcher finding a cure for cancer, you can run off to your desk and pin up that mission statement on your wall. All those in helping professions ought to feel that they are making a difference. That is also a myth. Ask any teacher about the drudgery of correcting assignments. What if you are like the vast majority, doing stuff which is mind numbing and mundane. What is your organization’s posters about leaving a ding in the universe feel vaguely phony? What if your boss fumbles and stammers while trying to explain that the coffee that you are brewing is making the customer cheer up and THAT is what is making the universe a big happy place? Naah… that sounds like a force fit. But wait there is hope.

Read On…


Abhijit Bhaduri

Abhijit Bhaduri works as the Chief Learning Officer for the Wipro group. He lives in Bangalore, India. Prior to this he led HR teams at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Colgate and Tata Steel and worked in India, SE Asia and US. He is on the Advisory Board of the prestigious program for Chief Learning Officers that is run by the Univ of Pennsylvania.

Visit http://www.abhijitbhaduri.com/   and follow me on Twitter @AbhijitBhaduri

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