Many descriptions of what makes successful managers include the notion of being able to motivate others. It is often surprising to many managers that it is all about money. While people need to feel that they are fairly rewarded, money by itself is not a long term motivator.
So how can you motivate staff, even when money is tight?
- Give them praise. Most people go out of their way to do a decent job. When people have done a good job, let them know you noticed by praising them.
- Support their development. Few people want to turn up and do the same thing day in and day out. They want the opportunity to grow and develop. If you actively support this, you will be surprised at the impact it has.
- Set them a challenge. Sometimes it is great to be in our comfort zone. At the same time, it is not a great place to be long term. Provide new challenges to people so that they keep growing.
- Get them working on a project. Getting people working on projects builds skills, experience and job satisfaction. It also develops what are sometimes referred to as ‘softer skills’, like communication, team working and networking. What project could you get them involved in?
- Give them feedback. We all, to a greater or lesser extent, thrive on feedback. Don’t wait for the annual appraisal. Make feedback a habit.
- Ask them. It might be stating the obvious but when was the last time you asked people what motivates them? If you know what motivates, you have a better chance of doing it well
Listen to UNDERSTAND
Many of us are taught to speak and to write but how many of us are really skilled at listening? Too often we are more interested in getting our points across than getting results. By listening to others and hearing what was said – what was meant – and how he/she felt will ensure you hear what is really being said and thus equip you to convey genuine UNDESTANDING of the individual or group. People respond positively to those that take the time to understand – and are often flexible in their position when the other then explains their perspective. To be Understood, first seek to Understand.
Change is a process not an event.
It is important to remember wanting, needing, and knowing you can change are part ingredients in the motivational pie. We all know people who say they could change tomorrow if they wanted to but just don’t want to or individuals who say they really would love to change but can’t! These statements offer insight into the reality that people only enter into a change process when it is IMPORTANT ENOUGH and they are CONFIDENT they WILL SUCCEED. Where one or both of these factors is diminished the individual is less likely to try – thus avoiding the discomfort of failure. And remember just because they are not doing it does not mean they are not motivated, it usually means they are not motivated enough YET. Explore what the next step is towards the goal rather than just focussing on the goal.
In the giving you shall receive
We all know that our best people have their own aspirations, desires and things that they want to achieve and sometimes as leaders we might be resistant to being too helpful to others, fearing that they might leave. The reality is that, if you are someone who has a bias for helping others achieve, you will get that returned many times over in terms of commitment and support.