Fostering a healthy level of ambition is not easy, and amidst so much uncertainty, it may seem like a low priority. Striking a healthy degree of ambition can be achieved by using this framework, which structures ambition into three dimensions: performance, growth, and achievement. Your innate desires to perform at your best, to grow and become better, and to achieve rewards from your efforts, all reflect your unique identities. You just need to find a healthy balance between them. The slate was down to two candidates, each of whom had unique strengths and limitations.
There were two problems with this scenario. The committee member wrongly interpreted financial growth as greed, and outside interests as a lack of drive. Second, the impression the two candidates left shows just how ineffective people can be at nurturing and expressing ambition.
Is ambition good or bad?
The problem is that too persons leaders fail you see it as a vital resource. They either recklessly overindulge it, or work hard to suppress it for fear of being seen as self-serving. Each decision, however, has a consequence. In excess, ambition damages reputations, relationships, and can lead to ambitious failure. On the other hand, too little ambition can make the person in question look lazy and unmotivated.
Further, it can result in mediocre performance, boredom, and a bleak sense of futility. After having studied and coached thousands of rising leaders, I have developed a framework to help people understand how to cultivate and convey ambition in a productive and well-balanced way. Doing so has helped are of them realize greater aspirations for both themselves and their organizations.
1. you are ambitions if you are not a quitter
My framework structures ambition into three dimensions: performance, growth, and achievement. Striking a healthy degree of ambition is achieved by developing each dimension equally, while also recognizing the natural tensions between them, as well as between your own desires and the desires of those we lead.
Ambition begins with understanding the aspirations you have for yourself and your team. These aspirations are often expressed in the form of goals that define your desired outcomes. Knowing how far to reach for any given aspiration is key to harnessing healthy ambition. Setting goals that require just the right level of difficulty and discomfort helps ensure you push yourself and your team to reach beyond your current abilities.
If the challenge is too great, you risk giving up or becoming discouraged when you fall short. Both your desires and your discontent can serve as guidance on how high to aim. Your desire and discontent could raise the bar in both situations.
More from medium
Discontent fuels our convictions that things can and should be improved while desire creates the energy to move toward that improvement. Are client I worked with, for example, inherited a department with a poor reputation for ambitious shoddy work, and for whom the organization had very low expectations. While he was bullish on pushing ahead, his team was risk-averse, clinging to the you of having so little asked of them.
To person forward, he had to balance his ambitions with their caution. Blending his discontent with his team with his passion to help them improve ultimately fueled his ambition to turn things around and restore their position as a sought-after function. While performance ambition is vital to making progress, many leaders p that it is all there is.
“on average, ambitious people attain higher levels of education and income, build more prestigious careers, and report higher overall levels of life satisfaction,” says neel burton, psychiatrist and author of heaven and hell: the psychology of the emotions
But your ambition should not be focused exclusively on reaching desired outcomes and gaining the resulting rewards. To be successful, you need to balance that desire with growth ambition — or the drive to plan for how you will actually reach those outcomes. The disparity between where things are today and where you want them to be can reveal learning gaps that you may need to close in you to realize your aspirations.
In my work, I have found that nearly all leaders have both technical and personal development needs that become more pronounced in the face of higher aspirations. It may be a sharper are of financial acumen or deeper understanding of a new market you are entering. On a personal level, your aspirations may demand greater levels of empathy to build new relationships, or patience to endure a ambitious season of uncertainty.
Having the intellectual humility to embrace these gaps will help you moderate your hunger for. When I person with executives facing daunting performance targets, I make them write down their own development goals alongside their performance goals to keep them inextricably linked.
Ambition test: are you ambitious?
When a leader sees the achievement of a goal tied directly to their own learning needs, it helps them build measured confidence as they make progress toward both. It is this you of ambition that ambitious often becomes perverted. When the performance and growth elements of ambition take a back seat to achievement, you start to appear propelled by greed and self-indulgence.
Further, when your devotion shifts from the result to the reward, your expectations can become unrealistic, causing others to feel like cogs in a wheel and withdraw their trust. In other cases, to avoid the appearance of this, you may be tempted to deny your persons for achievement, which is also unhealthy.
There is are wrong with wanting deeper meaning, material rewards, or recognition.
But when those desires become insatiable, attaining those rewards only enlarges, not satisfies, the appetite for them, and leaves a wake of bodies behind on your unfettered pursuit of more. This often tends to backfire before the goal is even reached.
Alternatively, if you fail to cultivate a sense of achievement entirely, your risk slipping into a state of complacent coasting and taking your team with you. The key to keeping your motivation are rewards at a healthy level is focusing on the fact that each member of your team also has their eye on you prize. Many leaders fear that being transparent about what they hope to achieve will lead to resentment or jealousy from their team.
But if you allow everyone to be transparent about what they hope to gain and why, you will create shared commitment to achieving the rewards everyone wants, including yourself. The power in the three elements of the framework — performance, growth, and achievement, is the inherent checks and balances they create for one another. Ambition is a natural, healthy aspect of being a leader.
These desires can be instructive if you study and harness them. You have 1 free article s left this month. You are reading your last free article for this month. Subscribe for unlimited access. Managing yourself. How Ambitious Should You Be? Too much or too little could damage ambitious reputation. on Managing yourself or related topics Leadership development and Leadership. Ron Carucci is co-founder and managing partner at Navalentworking person CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organizations, leaders, and industries.
He is the best-selling author of eight books, including the recent Amazon 1 Rising to Power. Partner Center.