Are you going about motivating your team the right way? Many leaders are surprised by responses they get from employees who feel that their efforts toward motivation just aren’t enough, aren’t sincere, or are seen as mere lip service. Motivating those who work for you to perform at their best level and consequently to want to do their job, is an art form in some ways. If you are superficial when it comes to offering praise, if you seem like you’re just going through the motions, your team will see right through you. If you want your people to put in the work and perhaps even go that extra mile for you, without question, you have to be sincere in your motivational efforts.
And yet, not enough supervisors and managers are “getting” it. Their attempts at motivation thus fall flat. A recent study conducted over a decade showed that of the 200k people surveyed, near eighty percent of them ultimately quit their job largely because they felt underappreciated. So we thought we’d look into some of the motivational techniques that simply do not work. Along with a few approaches that when implemented correctly, can work wonders toward getting your people motivated to want to work for you.
Rushed compliments. Yes, managers and leaders are quite frequently busy, as are your employees. But taking the time to offer praise the right way is critical. If for instance, you rush by an office, pop your head in and say something like “nice job today,” before rushing off again essentially what you are doing is giving your employee drive-by praise. That is to say, you’re not taking any real-time to recognize what they did and how they did it. Same with shooting off a quick text to this effect. Ultimately, while it may seem harmless enough and while you might think you’re being kind, they see it as rushed and impersonal. And if this is primarily the type of compliment you give your team, that makes it even worse.
Lying about praise. There are those managers who will reassure staff members by claiming that they went and spoke with one of their superiors regarding what a tremendous job said an employee was doing. And this is great if you did what you said; however, some managers may mean well to this end and yet in making stuff up are not doing their team any favors. Employees can spot insincerity a mile away. And ultimately then, what happens is that their trust in you begins to fade—quickly.
Guilt driven gratitude. Often, for whatever reason, managers find themselves in a position in which they feel guilty and thus they try and make up for it via effusive praise. And even worse than that, they may gush like this in public, thereby assuaging their guilt all the more. Going on and on about an employee’s performance and doing so in front of colleagues, for example, to compensate for something about which you feel guilty, is never a good way to try and motivate people. If you are feeling guilty about something the best thing to do in such a case is, to be honest about it and consequently thank that employee for helping you out when you dropped the ball. The key: be transparent here.
What is wrong with all of these motivational approaches is that they offer nothing to the person you’re trying to motivate. They merely serve you; they help managers to feel better rather than their team members. Below are a few far more effective methods you might try instead…
Ask them how they accomplished what they did. In other words, take an in-depth interest in the task and how they ultimately succeeded in accomplishing it. Ask them for the story behind their success! In asking and then listening to what they have to say, you are demonstrating that you care about them and their work. Not to mention, you create more of a connection with that employee and get a glimpse of how they think about their job. What do they like about it? What might they want to change? Such insights can prove very helpful overall. Plus, you are motivating them to want to tackle other similar challenges.
Point out connections. Especially for those newer employees, or those who may be lower within the organization, showing them what their work means to the company in a big picture way can be very motivating. Essentially you want to explain to them in terms of a broader context how their efforts are benefiting the firm. Show them for example how something that they did helped spur a shift in sales or customer service approaches. What you are trying to do here is to demonstrate to that employee their ultimate relevance and thus make them feel not only needed but excited about their role in the company.
Acknowledge sacrifices. Particularly now, during such trying times, employees are working hard for you and they are also trying to squeeze in time with family, or even just time for themselves. Often your team members will sacrifice for their job. Recognize this. Many employees try and hide the fact that they are struggling at times to balance all that they have on their plates. Letting them know that you see and appreciate this can be a huge motivational factor.
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