Leadership is required at all levels of an organization for success.
Personal leadership, a willingness to to know yourself, to step into a job with ownership, to look for creative opportunities to advance yourself, improve your work, and see that you are an important part of the company.
The caveat to this is that a good number of people are content to not take on a leadership role over others, or care for advancement.
So, what do we say about leadership to a person who is content with ok and a paycheck?
For some of us, this position is mind boggling. But it is a real struggle in the work place. For managers of this person, there is the question of retention and motivation of ok and paycheck employees.
We can go back to the company policy and hiring process.
Check your assumptions. Do you want to hire employees
Ask yourself, and make sure that you spell out your expectations to help you hire a good fit. Of course people who are desperate for a job may agree just to land the job, but if you are attentive you can usually tell.
Now you have a person in a job that could be a stepping stone, or not. Your employee is adequate, but you are unclear about their intention or desire to advance. You can ask them what they are looking for, this is vastly wiser than assuming what they want for themselves what you want for or from them.
Assumptions are very dysfunctional and block real communication and advancement.
They may feel uncomfortable because, in our world that celebrates the achievers, they are only working to help the family, to support their art or simply enjoy a simple approach to life. Minimalism is a real life style, and some are very happy here. But if you give them a chance to communicate without your expectations getting in the way, you will be in a better position to help them reach their potential in the job.
Find out if they like the work?
Find out what has real meaning for them.
Set aside your ideas that lack of ambition is laziness, dullness, or represents a mediocre job.
In setting aside your world view and inquiring into your employees, you are creating an opportunity to help this person create a working path in your company.
I have a friend, he is an Enneagram style Intellectual/Investigator. He loves his work as a cook. He prides himself in doing it very well, expertly. He is very happy with a predictable if modest annual increase and has about 20 percent of annual income put into his retirement. He is in his early 30s. To him, the idea of having to train and manage the unruly and less clear thinking need hires is the worst of horrors. That would be the career path towards a promotion. He just does not want that. But he is a priceless asset in the job he has.
He is very happy with his life, and works to support his life, because his interests are not areas where he could create an income, he lives for his interests and works to support himself.
How do you motivate him?
You support him by giving him tools to increase his well-being, don’t put pressure to “move up”, and you look for what he values as a reward. You look for ways to help him lead himself and become and example for greatness for the sake of greatness.