Ambition means different things to different people. For some, it is an essential quality. To others, it can have a negative connotation.

As an employer, how do you view ambition when it comes to employees?

In my experience, the best employees all have ambition.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they need to be ambitious in the sense that they want to climb the ladder as high and quickly as possible.

It might be an ambition to continuously learn and improve.

It could be an ambition to build a nest egg for their family.

To me, those employees without a driving ambition of some sort end up being clock watchers simply looking for a paycheck — any paycheck.

They rarely work out.

On the flip side, it is possible to be too ambitious — or at least demonstrate ambition in the wrong way.

Most of us have worked with people who have such ambition that they develop sharp elbows instead of broad shoulders.

Good professional ambition involves lifting up the entire team and improving overall performance, rather than clearing out the “competition” to get ahead.

Most effective leaders have strong ambition and want to continue to grow their responsibility.

Ineffective leaders tend to let their ambition drive a need for more power and authority.

As you evaluate prospective hires and current employees for advancement, it is important to assess their ambition.

You need to understand what drives each individual and where they want to go professionally.

The more you know, the better you can leverage that individual ambition for the success of the entire organization.