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21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

Brought to you by Virtual not Distant, the 21st Century Work Life podcast looks at leading remote teams, online collaboration and working in distributed organisations.

Join Pilar Orti, guests & co-hosts as they shine the spotlight on the most relevant themes and news relevant to the modern knowledge worker.

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May 24, 2018

Lots going on at Virtual Not Distant right now! Don’t forget the upcoming webinar, there's still time to book for the 6th June – all about confident and successful leadership in remote teams

Look out too for announcements about our in-house podcasting service, and also for Pilar’s podcast about podcasting – how meta is that?

Imposing 'meaningful work' can lead to staff burnout

Maya and Pilar discuss the potential mismatch between organisational and individual motivation – you can’t tell people what is important to them. And you can’t generate intrinsic motivation with a flowery corporate values statement.  Long before you get burn-out and resignations, the phenomenon of ‘existential labour’ suggests a painful phase of faking it, in the face of an expectation that you should always be passionate about what you do. 

But people find meaning in their lives in so many different ways, and there are many times people do work which pays the bills and is “fine” – why should they have to put on an act for their employers, that their behaviour is stemming from their values if it isn’t? Even to the point that the employee winds up feeling conflicted and confused, about what they really feel. Social determination theory suggests we should find plenty of meaning in autonomy competence and relatedness – and this could be quite enough to provide a wholly satisfactory working life, do we absolutely have to have purpose as well?

Maybe we shouldn’t idealise work, the work which most of us do every day. We talk about ‘the lottery test’ – would you carry on working? Most of us say yes would – but let’s remember that this is a thought exercise, not a real-life test!

What do you think?

Motivation in Virtual Teams

Giving this popular post a 4th birthday outing, this post digs in to the social determination theory we touched on in the media commentary. 

And it’s interesting to see how whilst the tools we use at work can change so much over that time, the way they are used for different purposes as the software landscape evolves has changed too – and the way users adapt them to their own needs and preferences, which might not be what the developers intended! 

As work changes, the ways we collaborate and connect changes too. And so does the way we give each other feedback, find our motivation, and receive validation for our work.

But the fundamental principles of leadership haven’t changed. Helping people fulfil their needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness through their work, remains the best way to lead a healthy happy team. 


Recommended Reading:

Pilar reflects on Daniel Pink’s excellent book Drive, and his commentary on self determination theory. He talks about mastery rather than competence, which doesn’t reflect how motivating the journey can be – but purpose remains the most important of all. Purpose is truly an internal motivator, it can’t be dictated to you by a manager or mission statement