The Value of Having a Personal Stake in Work - Software for pc The Value of Having a Personal Stake in Work

The Value of Having a Personal Stake in Work

In a conversation with a colleague, Bob, about a former team member, Chad, whom we had to dismiss for underperformance, Bob expressed a sense of personal responsibility for hiring Chad. He felt deceived during the interview process and was disappointed in himself for not better assessing Chad's character. While this perception could be dissected at length, it's not the main focus here.

More significantly, Bob conveyed that he felt he had let me down by bringing someone onto the team who didn't enhance its overall performance. This insight struck me as particularly noteworthy.

Bob is an excellent performer, and my initial reaction was to reassure him that this hiring decision didn't diminish his value. It's essential to recognize that evaluating people and evaluating code are distinct skills. Nonetheless, I believe Bob's sense of accountability is actually beneficial, both for him and for the team, and here's why.

The Necessity of Personal Investment

People are most driven when they have a personal stake in their work. If individuals see no personal gain, whether in skills, monetary rewards, challenging tasks, or a sense of ownership, they lose motivation and may start seeking other opportunities.

Having a personal investment fosters a self-motivated drive to improve and achieve more. It encourages introspection and skill acquisition, leading to a deeper sense of involvement. Without this, it's easy to become a passive observer of problems rather than an active participant in creating solutions. With a stake in the game, individuals are motivated to make changes and improvements, reducing the tendency to complain.

Managerial Responsibilities

Creating a sense of personal investment in your team must be paired with strong managerial support. If team members feel accountable but lack support, it can lead to disillusionment. They may take risks without feeling backed up, which harms morale. Therefore, it's crucial for managers not to neglect their responsibility to support their team.

Strategies to Foster Investment

  1. Align with Team Goals: Understand what matters to your team and help them achieve their goals. This doesn't always align perfectly with organizational objectives, but finding common ground or even supporting individual aspirations can build strong reciprocal loyalty.

  2. Empower with Agency: Give team members ownership of projects and initiatives. Engagement increases when individuals feel accountable for outcomes. Avoid micromanagement; instead, create opportunities for employees to leverage their strengths.

  3. Inclusive Decision-Making: Engage employees in decision-making processes. When they have a voice in the company's direction, their sense of responsibility for outcomes grows. We use a "pull" model, explaining why something is important without forcing action, trusting that informed and capable employees will take appropriate steps.

  4. Build Trust and Transparency: Maintain openness about company goals, performance, and challenges. Transparency helps employees understand the broader context and align their efforts. Trust is essential, particularly when strategic plans must be withheld to avoid disruption.

  5. Provide Regular Feedback: Don't neglect giving constructive feedback to top performers. Improving high performers' skills yields significant benefits and shows that you are invested in their growth, motivating them to continue excelling.

  6. Unwavering Support: Advocate for your team’s needs, recognize their contributions, and defend their interests, even in their absence. This builds trust and loyalty, encouraging team members to perform at their best.

  7. Incentivize Both Financially and Non-Financially: Offer bonuses, raises, and profit-sharing to reward hard work. Complement these with professional development opportunities, flexible work arrangements, and other unique benefits like sabbaticals or mentorship programs. These incentives boost morale and job satisfaction.


Creating an environment where team members feel personally invested in their work is not a precise science but a deliberate effort. By fostering a sense of ownership and providing robust support, managers can enhance team performance and create a more engaged and motivated workforce.

Written by - Abhishek Singh