Thursday, 25 October 2012

This Matter Of Motivation

Wednesday 10 February, 2010
Many managers think that motivation is like a packet of soap powder. When people need it, you tip it over them and it works. Then you put the packet back on the shelf until you need it again.
If only this were so, wouldn’t it be easy? Teams of contented, committed and enthusiastic people happily doing whatever we want them to do, over and over and over.
But the real world is different. People ought to be like that but regrettably they aren’t. All too often they seem to want to do what they want to do when they want to do it.
So here are some tips that might help you get the best out of your people and restore your temperament to tranquil:
  1. Beware of the curse of assumption

    Too many of us believe that everybody knows what we know. If this were true, they’d be doing our job! This means that we need to think through every aspect of what we ask people to do. We need to explain what we want to happen, how we want it to happen, why it should happen and, most importantly, the results if it does... not only for the client but also for our company and the team member. Too often team members are in the dark. Put there through the curse of assumption.
  2. Know what they want

    Whenever business people are asked what they think staff rate as most important in a job, the answer is invariably “good salary”. Yet the fact is, salary rates way down the line. What people want most of all is an interesting job. So, here is a question that's worth asking yourself everyday. “What have I done to make the jobs of my staff more interesting today?”
    Sure they are paid to do, what they do, day after day but, like it or not, their enthusiasm and their results will wax and wane dependant on their interest from time to time. And when a team member has extracted the same information from the same dull customer for the umpteenth time, it’s pretty hard to be interested.
    So the motivational leader is going to have a store of “by the way” thoughts, ideas and activities that can be shared with the team just to add interest.
  3. Life is a boomerang

    That’s right! We get back what we put out. Just like a boomerang. If you are an enthusiastic, happy and switched on leader, your team will tend to be enthusiastic, happy and switched on. Try this simple test. When people say “Good morning, how are you” check your answer. Is it “not bad”, “alright”, “okay” or something similar? If so you’re going to have a less than motivated team. You’ll get back what you’re giving out.
    Why not experiment? Maybe you could say “fantastic”, “tremendous” or “terrific” and really mean it. Guess what you’ll get back… the same. The people around you will lift their levels of enthusiasm to mirror yours.
    And remember, if you don’t feel fantastic in the morning you ought to. Around 80% of people who die do so between midnight and 6am. So if you woke up today, how should you feel?
  4. Recognition is powerful

    It’s incredible. People will do something to get recognition more often than they will for reward. And the recognition doesn’t have to be earth shattering. It’s as simple as finding a reason to tell somebody that they’ve done something well or their idea was worthwhile or that their results are great. Even better, recognise them in front of their peers. Share it with the team. After all, there’s no point being told you are good if nobody knows about it!
    Recognise too the special events in their lives. Like birthdays, anniversaries (of joining your company) and other milestones. After all, it’s great to feel special.
  5. Adults are just big kids

    Work doesn’t have to be deadly serious. Nobody has to look like they’ve just sucked on a lemon. Life has to be fun. And most people like a bit of fun. Adults are really just big kids... it’s just harder to get them started! So every day, ask your team and yourself. “Are we having any fun?” Then make sure you are. Find time to laugh, to see the funny side of things. Be a bit zany, a tiny bit stupid occasionally.
    Look to laugh with people, not at them. Be ever on the alert for things that tickle your funny bone and share them with your team.
When all is said and done about motivation, more is generally said than done. Motivation is an ongoing, constant activity you must work at. Motivators aren’t born, they are made. And they are made by constantly looking for opportunities to share a positive, enthusiastic attitude with the team.
Remember, motivation doesn’t bubble up from the bottom. It percolates down from the top.


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