Motivation rates as one of the most requested topics in our programs. Leaders want to know how to successfully motivate their employees, so let’s talk motivation this month! For the best results, motivation is something you need to pay attention to every day, and you will need to be creative because it is not a one size fits all task. In motivation you need to know the difference between a satisfier and a motivator. A satisfier is something given to the employee that will satisfy them in the short term, but not motivate them to work harder for the long term. Examples of satisfiers are benefits, working conditions, or money. Money? Yes, money! This is probably what takes the longest for many leaders to grasp, so I’ll give you an example. A good wage will attract employees, but it will not motivate the employee to work hard for you. Employees expect fair wages! So, while you may shower your people with money, pay attention to what real motivators are because if you are motivating with money, you will need to have an infinite supply to keep motivating. Think about that! Your goal is not to satisfy, but motivate, so how do you motivate? Start by understanding that you, as their leader, have the power to motivate your employees by being the leader they want to follow, a leader who holds influence with their employees, and a leader who has an acute sense of self awareness. By knowing where you stand as a leader and learning how to influence your employees – you will be happy with the results because your team will work hard for you just because they work for you!
Getting to know your team individually and what each of their strengths and weaknesses are will help in motivating because you can then try to give them opportunities to work on tasks that they enjoy and therefore they will be more motivated to work harder to accomplish those tasks. Delegating work to employees is another motivator, and is three-fold to a leader. You get more accomplished in less time, your employee grows in the process, and you build trust with your employee by showing them that you know they can handle the task. Show appreciation to the team for a job well done, for going above and beyond. A simple thank you goes a long way (written or verbal). Employees who know they are valuable and are important to the team are easily motivated. Promoting from within. Employees who have opportunities for advancement have reason to be motivated. Again, it shows that they are valuable to the organization.
Give your employees opportunities for growth through projects, additional tasks, mentoring, or professional development classes. This may even help out a struggling employee and turn them into one of your stronger team members.
By taking some time and reflecting on what has worked in the past, and coming up with some creative new ways to motivate you are sure to hit on something that will work for everyone on your team. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Some final ideas: ask for input, then do something with it; be honest with your employees; listen and communicate effectively; flexible schedules; hold everyone accountable to the standard; and be there to help your people set goals with opportunities to attain those goals.