Leaders know “it” is not about them. Leaders know that the achievement of the team is the “thing.” What may be surprising is that the true motivation of the leader is almost always known by the team.
One study suggested there are three root motivations to be a leader: power, success, and adoration. To some extent, all leaders have a percentage of these in their motivation kit bag.
I could say that I am 70% motivated by the success of my team, 20% motivated by the thrill of the power of being in charge, and 10% that I dig the spotlight that shines on my position. You could do the same analysis of your own motivations. What is interesting is that teams that have shown long term success have leaders with a preponderance of “success” motivation.
As a leader you can provide a lot of tools and resources, but that won’t over shadow your motivation. For example, the LA Clippers owner provided the capital, the front office management, facilities and players to work toward a world championship contender. Unfortunately, the owner did not have the heart of a servant leader – it was all about him. A leader creates a team of “problem solvers” committed to achieving their shared fate, or what we sometimes call, the “National Championship.” “We are in this together” is a common phrase voiced by a leader who is fully committed to the team.
Donald Sterling built an organization that appeared successful. He had the star players, the loyal fans, and was on the verge of possibly reaching the World Championship. But as you heard on the news, he did not believe in the shared fate of his team, he harbored despicable thoughts of others, and ultimately brought down his team.
So, search your own heart. What is your profile in terms of drivers; success, power, or adoration? If you are in it for yourself your team can see that. If your work is done right, you will achieve success through others, working towards that shared fate – your own national/world championship. Without success, power and adoration are not coming anyway.