Remember, it seriously is all about the chase
When it comes down to happiness and energy, don’t think you have to provide a constant slew of rewards for a job well done. Sometimes, the real reward really is in the journey.
We get a bigger thrill from the chase than from the capture. The very act of chasing, seeking, or pursuing the wild boar motivates us much more powerfully than cooking and eating it.
You get a thrill out of pursuing or seeking a goal, but once you achieve it, it doesn’t seem so attractive. What does this mean for the team leader? First, you should bear in mind the extreme pleasure people derive from activating their seeking emotional system
when a stimulus arouses our seeking system, it activates our frontal neocortex, prompting us to work out innovative strategies and solutions.
What does this mean for you as a team leader? It’s an easier solution than you might think. It means use novelty to motivate.
It also means it’s about new chases!
Now this is the cool part: when a stimulus arouses our seeking system, it activates our frontal neocortex, prompting us to work out innovative strategies and solutions. Logic doesn’t make us do that; emotions do. The brain’s neocortex, the source of our human analytical intellect, serves our emotions, not vice versa. A team that embarks on an exciting new journey not only feels strongly motivated to succeed but also works smarter. When our seeking system comes to the party, we feel as though we can accomplish anything. Negativity evaporates; fear takes a vacation. We feel confident we can conquer the world.
A fairly easy way to create novelty within your team is to switch up their responsibilities.
If I took charge of a team working at a warehouse, I’d try to keep people fresh by periodically shifting their responsibilities. I’d transfer Jeff from driving a forklift to running the shipping/receiving desk and move shipment expediter Martin into that slot. The change of scenery and routine will spark a little more energy. Yes, each much learn a new role, but learning itself fulfills the appetite for seeking novelty, and the extra enthusiasm sparked by doing something new should more than make up for any loss of productivity caused by traveling the learning curve and getting up to speed in a new job.
Another thing you can do is give people opportunities to get involved in improving company processes. This is a good idea if you don’t feel like there’s a huge amount of variation in roles and it still gives them an opportunity to do new and different work.