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1 min readAre You Engaged Or Transactional?

by Guy Gage | December 1, 2019 | Business, Leadership, Performance, Personal Management

Early in your career, you have a highly energetic attitude to do what it takes to be successful. Your learning curve is steep and you put a lot of effort into absorbing the software, technical knowledge and procedures to get your work done at a high level. It often feels like a drink from a fire hose but you are very motivated. Whether you are excited to learn or anxious that you won’t learn it all, you are emotionally invested to prove yourself, willing to contribute extra time and effort, and committed to your firm’s success. You are an engaged professional.

Over time, if you aren’t careful, you can settle into a mindset of a day’s work for a day’s pay. You commit to certain set of expectations for a certain compensation. Tit for tat. Your attitude is, if you want more, you have to pay me more. You slowly morph into a transactional professional. Under those conditions, not only does your career trajectory slow down, but you also feel your energy slipping away.

When you become a manager and then partner, you can continue your transactional thinking by considering your people as if they are production machines. You forget they have aspirations and drive to do well…unless their dreams of professional excellence has been managed out of them.


First, you pay way more attention to their productivity, using charge time, utilization and realization, to coach and evaluate them. Second, you hardly ever talk about their aspirations and motivational drive. With all the attention slanted in one direction, it’s no wonder their energy and passion wanes.

If you’re a rising leader, resist falling into being a transactional professional. Keep your sense of purpose and career fulfillment firmly in the center of your work and relationships. Remember the reason why you do what you do.

And if you are a leader, recognize in your people more than just production. Kindle their drive to do well and their passion to have an impactful career. Make their journey with you one that is engaging, not transactional.

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