Passion or Paycheck?

Last week, during my companies leadership leadership program, we listened to the Problem with passion topic from the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Here’s a short write-up on my understanding from the session.

What drives your team? Passion or Pay-check?

Learning what motivates the employees is essential for a leader to build a successful team. Every individual is driven by different motivations. One may be driven by passion and the other would work for the paycheck.


Employees who are driven by the purpose often prefer fulfillment and have an attitude toward putting a dent in the universe. There is a mix of love and trust in their work and as a manager, you can easily spot that out in the outcome of their work.

If I have to retrospect myself, I’m driven by the Vision of a company. My passion is to build great products that are driven by a greater vision. I have built software for enterprises and my observation is that many software companies tend to complicate the product with a plethora of features that are not easy to use.

It is easy to complicate software and it takes a lot of courage to invest time in solving the complications or just eliminating them as a whole if it is not worth solving. Kissflow believes in the power of simple and that vision is what I’m personally attracted to.


Employees who have ambitions outside of work treat work as a means to achieve their other priorities in life. Their purpose to work is to fulfill their needs which can be feeding their family or saving money for a dream home or running a book store on their own.

It is easy to underestimate the power of people who only work for the paycheck but these employees often exhibit precision and focus on finishing the tasks on time by eliminating other responsibilities that aren’t part of their job description.

The difference between the two:

Here are a few recommendations for leaders

  • Don’t preach the purpose rather, understand what drives every individual.
  • Encourage the ones who have greater ambitions at work.
  • Embrace the ones who are driven by the paycheck as they have a different calling in life.

An organisation needs both the employees who are passionate as well as who work for the pay-check. As a leader, you’ll need to embrace every individuals motivation of work that brings meaning to their life.

Thanks for reading.

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