The Unconsciously Competent Manager

I live for pats on the back. They keep me motivated and are a much appreciated reward for a job well done. There are even times I resent not receiving my duly earned recognition, and therefore, as a manager, I do my best to ensure everyone on my team is recognized for a job well done. I do this through a variety of different mediums…verbally, publicly, in an email, a personal note, or through some type of gift. It’s a vicious animal; I appreciate when I am recognized, therefore work hard to receive said recognition, and I assumed everyone appreciates recognition as much as I do. I was an unconsciously competent manager.

We all have them, a set of innate preferences and intrinsic motivators which unconsciously impact our lives on a daily basis. This group of preferences is at the core of who we are as a person and largely dictates our managerial/leadership style. As leaders, we unconsciously create an environment around ourselves which aligns with our own motivators and preferences. As in the example above, I was managing my team based on my own preference for pats on the back, assuming everyone valued recognition as a motivator. It was not until I fully understood my own unconscious biases that I could understand the impact they had on my managerial effectiveness.

Over time most good managers and leaders learn from observations how to individually motivate members of their team. It is mostly trial and error, or in many cases, natural forces that attract people with similar preferences and values. Why wait? Hogan has a phenomenal managerial cheat sheet, and it is called the Motives Values Preferences Inventory.

I’ve had my fair share of managerial training, assessments, etc., and I can honestly say no other instrument has made me a better manager. By analyzing my own results, I am strategically aware of my own unconscious biases and how they influence my managerial style. In addition, understanding how each individual on my team is motivated ensures I am providing the appropriate feedback to fuel their own motivational animal. If you want to exhibit managerial genius with your team, give Hogan’s Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory a whirl and join the ranks of consciously competent managers.