Too often, I run across Managers and Leaders who are attempting to motivate their team and the individuals on that team by taking a “one size fits all” approach that comes out of the old school. Not surprisingly, it usually fails to provide great results and leads to the leader becoming increasingly frustrated. As I have found myself helping a number of emerging leaders recently around how to motivate a team of diverse individuals, I thought I’d share today some good Best Practices around that challenge. Here goes…
Realize that any team is going to be inevitably made up of individuals with differing behavior styles, personalities, engagement levels, and motivational profiles. Do NOT take the approach that you will motivate everyone the same way because it will not work consistently across your entire team. The wiser approach is to realize that with diverse teams, made up of diverse individuals, you will always find that the best results come from getting to know your team as individuals and making an effort to understand them. Find out what excites them, what frustrates them, what they are particularly energized by, what their unique talents and strengths are, etc.
I suggest that you begin to build a one-page motivational profile for each member of your team. The profile can and should be straightforward and simple to drive the best results, but it must be comprehensive enough to help you understand and remember the keys to what makes that individual tick. You can add whatever you like to the motivational profile, but here are some suggestions that have worked for me:
- Aspirations – Have a good conversation with your teammate and ask them what they’re trying to accomplish this year, in the next five years, before they retire, etc.
- Strengths – Consider using assessments like a Strengths Finder or a DISC analysis to help you to uncover true strengths so that you can leverage them.
- Motivators – Extrinsic/Intrinsic, also look for keys to what makes them engage and what challenges and excites them and what demotivates them quickly.
- Hobbies/Activities – Hiking, Camping, Concerts, Films, etc.
- Behavior Style – Results oriented, Interaction oriented, Security oriented, Correctness oriented, etc.
- Personality Traits – Introverted, Extroverted, or Ambivert
- Stressors – Isolation from the team, dislikes conflict, avoids tough competition, needs direction and feedback, struggles with deadlines and pressure, etc.
- Mindset – Scarcity or Abundance, Growth or Fixed, Inward or Outward, etc. Be clear about how your individuals view and approach the world around them.
The key to building this one-page motivational profile is to get to know each person on the team as an individual and to treat them as such. When you begin to get to know them, and what they like about their work, what their aspirations are, what they’re trying to build with their professional career, you can begin to build a strategy to fully keep them engaged and motivated to do their best work. You need to customize your motivational efforts from one individual to the next and base your decisions on these unique motivational profiles. When you attempt to treat all of your associates as if they are identical from a motivational perspective, you will get great results with about 20% of your team, and lousy results with the other 80% because your approach, whatever it is, doesn’t appeal to their interests. Motivation is a science and an art at the same time. If you invest in becoming scientific and artful as you learn to motivate your team, you can expect to watch the team flourish under your leadership. This takes time, but you will see significantly improved results within months as you gain experience and confidence.
If you’d like assistance developing a motivational strategy for your small or medium sized business, contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll send you a complimentary copy of his 25 Best Motivation Practices and work with you to help you begin to master your motivational skills.