Motivation is not about manipulation! It’s about consistently doing the right thing, day after day when nobody is looking. Manipulating your team to do things against their will might work, but only for a short while. Go for a longer-term victory by really figuring out what your team wants from their careers and providing them with an inspirational vision!
Foster an environment of competency at your office, one where your colleagues know and understand that you believe in them. Recognize their contributions and capabilities and show them that you appreciate their ability to deliver effective results on a regular basis. By believing the best in your team, you will empower great engagement among them and light the path for those who need to develop stronger skills in the future. Hold your team accountable by being MORE than fair about it while you do it. Express gratitude frequently when the team is doing great work.
Make career development and professional training an obvious priority in your company. Showing your associates that you care starts by investing in the future of every single team member as you invest in the business. Have deep discussions about the future of every team member in your one on one meetings with them and in your performance management discussions.
Teach your team to lead, and then help them to spread the word. Stretch your people by giving them opportunities to lead and show them how to do it well. Leadership will never go out of style, and you can never have enough of it around you, in your business, trust me. Invest your precious time in showing your key people how to lead a great meeting, how to run a great customer visit to your facility and how to lead a team through a workshop on team building or leadership. Invest in building strong colleagues with strong leadership abilities and you will have a strong team to carry the heavy load when business gets tough.
Most of all, make it a point to make the work matter. Encourage and challenge your colleagues to think about whether the work matters. Does it matter to them? Does it matter to their teammates? Does it matter to their customers? When meaning is relevant in a business, the workplace culture motivates the team to expend considerable energy. The team invests themselves in the meaningful work, ensuring that they are making a difference. Inspire your colleagues by making them see how their work matters to your constituents. Communicate clearly so that they know WHY we do this work, and WHY we do it THIS way, and what happens whenever we don’t do it that way. Once the team understands what the work means, and who it impacts, they naturally want to do it as well as they possibly can.
The best way to motivate your colleagues is to be a great leader, every day, even when the lights and cameras are NOT rolling. Leadership is not easy, and motivating your team is not easy, but if you get seriously focused on helping your team to understand how important their work is, and how important it is that we deliver strong results that match our promises, they will roll up their sleeves and give you their best efforts. No need to manipulate anyone or to trick them into working. Set a strong example through your conduct and your candid communication about what’s important and let the team motivate themselves from there.
Michael is a Licensed Professional Business Coach, and Leadership Development thought leader working in the Twin Cities. Michael enjoys speaking on topics like culture, sales excellence, character, and accountability to audiences large and small. For more information on Motivational Best Practices, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.