Are You a Good Boss? by Markham Heid


Can’t crack your apathetic coworker? Money might not motivate him, finds a new workplace survey from

Per the survey, only 18 percent of employees feel their bosses are “on the right track” when it comes to inspiring them, and a full 25 percent responded “not at all” when asked if their managers or colleagues understood what drives them.

While everyone appreciates a fatter paycheck, the motivating effects of a bonus or raise are short-lived, says Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., the president of In fact, thinking about money is more likely to de-motivate people, because most workers don’t believe they’re being paid what they deserve, she says.

So if dollars don’t work, then what’s the secret to supercharging your colleagues? Using the survey data, Jerabek and her team isolated the five most common employee types, and determined the incentives that are most likely to optimize each type’s productivity. Here’s how to motivate any kind of coworker:

1. The Trailblazer
He tends to focus on others, like your customers or whoever benefits from the work you do. If he’s going to pump his blood, sweat, and tears into a job, he wants to improve people’s lives—or at least leave behind a legacy that will inspire his colleagues or clients.

Motivate him: Emphasize your company’s values and ethics. Explain exactly how his work makes a difference, and how his role contributes to the larger company goals. He’ll thrive in team-oriented environments.

2. The Workhorse
You ask for 100-percent effort, and he gives you 150. He’s dependable, consistent, and loyal, but he has a tendency to turtle when you throw him curveballs. Why? Because he craves security at work and in life. He wants to believe that if he does what he’s told, he’s got nothing to worry about.

Motivate him: Provide him with a stable work environment—no last-second project changes or role shifts. Focus on retirement plans and realistic career paths, and lay out for him exactly what he needs to do to keep you and the company happy.

3. The Heavyweight
He wants to be challenged. He’s constantly asking to take on new responsibilities or clients, and he doesn’t give a thought to work-life balance. He’s all about pushing himself and proving his ability.

Motivate him: Give him what he wants. Throw down individual goals or targets—a sales quota, a deadline, or a pesky negotiation—and offer him sole control and accountability. The more daunting the task, the more he’s likely to respond.

4. The Generation Y-er
He’s confident, social, and probably in his 20s. He’s more likely to be tech-y, is interested in new methods of doing business, and appreciates unconventional work environments. He’s a quick learner, but he becomes bored just as quickly.

Motivate him: Put him on a team and give him projects that require outside-the-box thinking. Above all, make him feel like he’s part of something pioneering, ahead of the curve, and one of a kind. And make sure he has ample free time to live life outside of the office, because he needs that to be content.

5. The Explorer
In many ways the opposite of a workhorse, he craves variety and new experiences. The idea of doing the same thing until retirement repels him, and he relishes the opportunity to show off his creativity and to try new roles.

Motivate him: Give him variety. Change up his responsibilities and tasks every few months, or at least offer him a handful of different objectives to work on. Focus on how each aspect of his job is unique and challenging, and emphasize the different skills he’ll develop.

Great Leaders Serve


by Mark Miller

During an interview last week, I was asked: What’s the biggest insight you’ve had regarding leadership throughout your career? That’s a really good question. How about you – how would you answer that question? The microphone is yours, what would you say?

I really do like the question. It does what most hard-working questions do – it makes you think. Also, it requires a synthesis of countless moments in time, thousands of ideas and hundreds of possible answers. It’s the kind of question I like to ask others.

As I think about my answer to the question, my mind races through possible answers. I’m thankful to have been exposed to many great leaders who’ve been willing to share their wisdom with me and the world.

The question is such a good one; I’ve decided to write several posts in the coming weeks and months on numerous “Big Ideas” that have shaped my leadership. Today, I’ll share the answer I gave during the interview.

My biggest personal insight over the last three decades regarding leadership is…

Great Leaders Serve

I know this idea is counterintuitive and countercultural. It always has been. To some, the idea that a leader should serve seems outlandish. But, think about electricity – energy flowing through wires to light our homes and power our appliances seemed far-fetched just over 100 years ago. Today, it is electricity that has modernized our world.

Just because an idea seems crazy at face value actually has no bearing on its validity. Servant leadership is a classic example. For me, to serve is at the heart of what enables a leader to become great. This idea applies at two levels.

First, is the issue of motivation – Why do you lead? Is it for you or for others? The best leaders think others first. It is a mark of their character. It is who they are or are becoming. Serving is a core motivation for the best leaders.

Second, SERVE represents the strategic practices of great leaders. I’ve written about this before; first in a book I coauthored with Ken Blanchard called The Secret. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a post which goes a little deeper on the following five SERVE practices. For today, I’ll just recap them here.

Great leaders SERVE when they…

See the Future

Engage and Develop Others

Reinvent Continuously

Values Results and Relationships

Embody the Values.

To serve is a tall order for any leader. It is about why we lead, how we lead, how we think and how we see our role in the world. It is a high bar to shoot for every day. To do anything less creates an inferior form of leadership. Great Leaders Serve!

If you’d like to explore this idea more, here’s another link (follow below) to a post about why servant leadership works.