Motivation from a New Perspective

by Jun 28, 2016Summer 2016

By Helen Horyza

Having a team of highly motivated employees is a prized objective for any leader. It’s also maddeningly unpredictable. The “platinum perspective” offers a clear strategy to achieve optimum productivity, retention of valued talent and, over time, a high engagement culture. Conversely, the “Golden Rule” can be a dangerous trap.

Employees at any level in an organization should treat other people the way they want to be treated. Sounds good, right? Well, partially. Basics like respect and integrity are reliable motivational tools that work for everyone. But, after that, employees need you to communicate to their preferences, not yours. This is coined by many leadership experts as the “platinum rule”.

Let’s see how it works. The boss is a strategic thinker. She moves fast, considering both long-term and short-term implications. Rationality and logic are favored over emotion. Her work production is substantial and she expects her employees to work as hard as she does. The leader is frustrated by employees seeking too much direction.

This leader’s employees are a production team. They need to hit specific goals every day. They want clear direction and support in achieving their targets. They are offended by their boss’s tendency to ask them “why” they do things one way rather than another. They feel intimidated, criticized and unappreciated. Truth be told, they are not far off the mark. The boss has little respect for this work group.

If you have explored you own work style, you know you have hard wired preferences that you operate from automatically and unconsciously. You tend to work well with people who function the way you do, not as well with people who are your opposite. Assessments like Elevations for Organizations, Strengthsfinders or the Myers Briggs Type Indicator will provide you with your leadership style profile.

Understanding your preferences is the first step, but it can be harder than it sounds. The very best leaders capitalize on their strengths, develop skills where they are weak and constantly strive to lead to the need of others. Here are a few tips that will get you moving towards the platinum perspective:

  • Consider what skills, values and attitudes your team needs to achieve maximum productivity. Look at your employee group and analyze how well each person is suited to their role. Be willing to re-assign tasks if people are misaligned.
  • Communicate your expectation that all employees will be valued for their natural talents. Model this commitment by regularly pointing out how certain team members offer unique value.
  • Keep an eye out for judgments of people who are different from you. If you are frustrated with someone, is it because they are different or are they truly failing to produce.
  • Actively recruit people who have a different work-style preference from yours. Discuss your personal and work-related values with prospective hires and determine if you operate from similar perspectives on that level. Values are the bridge that support workplace diversity. 

As we are slowly recovering from the Great Recession, many leaders are struggling. Employees have choices, they do not have to stay with an organization that does not value them as a unique individual. Leaders and organizations who choose to embrace the platinum perspective will find it easier to recruit and retain their top employees.  

Helen Horyza is an expert in the field of employee development, engagement and retention. She is an accomplished trainer, facilitator and executive coach. Helen holds a Master of Science degree in Career Counseling from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) and is a professionally trained coach through Coach Training International. She is a Nationally Certified Career Counselor (NCCC) and has over twenty years of experience uncovering talent and directing it to achieve extraordinary results.

As an executive and business coach, Helen has helped hundreds of mid-to upper level executives accelerate their career success and develop their leadership skills. Insightful, supportive, knowledgeable, and experienced are some of the terms her clients use to describe her. She inspires leaders and professionals seeking fulfillment in their careers—and avenues to inspire their employees.

Helen also has a depth of experience in all aspects of training and organizational development. She has been a key player in multi-year training programs in the areas of leadership development, workforce development and employee engagement. Her platform skills are well honed, both in the classroom and in the board room. She reaches audiences at their level and creates a learning environment that changes lives.

Helen is the inventor and author of Elevations for Organizations, an online behavioral profiling tool designed to give managers and employees a common language to achieve both job satisfaction and top performance. Elevations is utilized in organizations and in consultant practices around the world.


Helen Horyza, 916-357-6518