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Identifying Employees Who Are A Strong Motivational Fit

Chances are if you are a leader on the verge of burnout, it’s because you aren’t getting the best from your team and you find that it is easier to “pick up the slack” than to get everyone to hold their own. You operate at an “11” (out of 10), while your team operates at their own “leisurely” pace.

Maybe you are even starting to resent them for what you perceive as a lack of effort...

So how can you put yourself in a position to lead your team to victory? It all starts with hiring people who can match your “motor.” Motor, also known as “motivational drive”, is just a single factor, but it is a critical one.

 Of course, there are other factors that we typically screen for during interviews. But, a lot of the competencies we look for in our applicants can actually be taught and learned along the way. Mike Kappel, a successful entrepreneur, and contributor at, gives some helpful reminders in this article about avoiding the trap of waiting for the “perfect” candidate.

Recognizing and identifying when others aren’t self-starters, can be tricky, but it will lead to tremendous frustration if you fail to do it correctly with candidates.

Even more important to consider is the fact that it’s unlikely that you’ll change someone from “easy going” to hard-working.

Your motor is the level you work at the majority of the time, the amount of “elbow grease” you use on a daily basis.

Many leaders and entrepreneurs have a naturally high motor - they work hard and they work often. But I have seen countless leaders and business owners make the mistake of hiring people whose motor doesn’t match their own.

The issue comes to light when there’s an incongruence between the level of perceived effort from a “5” employee and an “11” manager. This can cause a lot of friction - even though both might be working to best of their abilities.

There may not be anything wrong with a 5 employee, they can do some great work - I’ve seen it first hand. But that person may not be the right motivational fit for your organization, and you can save yourself time, money, and heartache by reading the clues before you hire them

As an additional resource, check out what Lesley Jane Seymour uses during her interviews with Millennials in this article.

Here is more specific advice we give our clients about finding the right people:

  1. Beware of entitlement amongst young adults who are not accustomed to performing menial (to them) tasks; repetitive work; or acts of service. If they do not see the value in these everyday tasks, chances are they don’t see the bigger picture about how being consistent in effort and execution leads to success.
  2. Ask about what they are passionate about and how they’d like to achieve their goals- When you get them talking about something they like, how excited do they get? If they don’t seem to have much energy for their own reported passions, it could be a bad sign about their motor at work.
  3. Consider their situation - Do they need to work? Or is it just “nice” for them to have a job and some extra cash? Do they have people counting or relying on them?  It’s not uncommon for employees to “Ghost” on a job. (Ghost = Without notice, they just don’t show up for work. Maybe they send a text, maybe not.)

These are just a few snippets from our comprehensive curriculum at GenDev. If you want more tips on getting the most from your team, you can check out our latest resource guide on our website at And don’t forget to check out our video library for a wealth of helpful content.

Get our FREE bullet-proof action guide with practical steps you can take RIGHT NOW to unlock the infinite potential of a young team.

8 Ways to Get Millennials to WANT to Work for You.

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