Dec 1, 2011

4 Steps to Get Motivation Right - Guest post from BookBoon

How to get everyone in your business motivated

Are you a coach, an employer or simply interested in new input on how to motivate others? Understanding what motivates you is a vital first step towards gaining an insight into what motivates others. The free eBook “Getting Motivation right” will give you the information you need to make a significant impact and increase the motivation within your team, as well as some useful practical tools.

If you are keen to gain some understanding of how motivation works and what you can do practically, then take a look at the following book excerpt. It is written from the employer’s perspective, but also applies to all the rest of us. And who knows, maybe you can even bring some of these practical steps into use at work tomorrow.

Remove Barriers

To enhance motivation, there are different steps to consider. The first one is to remove as many factors as possible that are likely to de-motivate or get in the way of motivation. Attempting to motivate staff while there are de-motivating factors in play can be compared to trying to run up an escalator which is going downwards. In other words, every positive step that you take is likely to be wiped out by the negative ones that are already present.

To remove negative factors you should start by focusing on yourself and identify which factors both motivate and de-motivate you. From this you will be able to identify changes that you can make to increase your own personal motivation.

An additional way to remove barriers is to optimize the general working conditions that can act as de-motivators if they do not satisfy the staff’s needs or requirements. Getting these right will not, in themselves, motivate staff, but getting them wrong will tend to de-motivate them. Questions you could ask yourself include: Have I created a pleasant physical environment for my employees? Is the timetable flexible enough? Do my people feel that they are being paid fairly for the work that they do? Does the communication within the business work well?

Identify Key Motivators

The next step is to identify the key motivators for your staff/team. This is best done during a one-to-one meeting, either during one of a regular series of meetings, or as part of an annual appraisal process or in a separate individual session.

Although everybody has their own set of priorities, it is nevertheless useful to appreciate that there tends to be some common ground amongst many people. As an example, in one piece of research where workers were asked: “What are the things that make you feel good at work?”

The top 10 responses were: Achievement, Working with others, Recognition, Helping Others, Varied and Interesting Work, Financial Reward, Good Working Atmosphere, Empowerment, Solving Problems and Physical Environment.

It is worth noting that the top places are held by ‘Achievement’, ‘Recognition’ and ‘Working with others’, whereas ‘Financial Reward’ came out at only 6th in this list.

Although it is not always desirable to generalise, it is also possible to find some useful ways of grouping people.

For instance, having classified motivators into Positive and Negative, it is also possible to recognise that people will generally fall into one of two groups: Those that generally move ‘towards’ positive motivators and those that have a tendency to move ‘away from’ negative motivators.

Identifying which of these categories people fall into will give a clue as to the likely things that will best motivate them – whether they will be best motivated by the promise of something good or the threat of something bad.

Give Individual Attention

As you are now aware of the motivating factors for each member of your team, you will be able to have meaningful discussions with them about how their needs and desires might be better accommodated within the overall business.

For instance, it might be possible to make specific adjustments to their job, or the way that they work, that will make a significant difference to their personal motivation and thus to their productivity within the company.

From these discussions you might also find ways to improve the overall structure of the business, or perhaps introduce procedures or policies that can have an important affect on everybody within the business.

On the whole, employees respond well to a caring employer. If you show a genuine interest in them as people, rather than just as instruments of the business, they will be more likely to return this attention as extra commitment both to you and to your business. Getting to know your employees on a personal level, where you take an interest in their families, their outside interests, etc. will build a bond that helps people feel valued as individuals.

Remember that the first two key motivators on the list are ‘Connection and Belonging’ and ‘Independence’. Generally, most people want to feel part of something, and yet also be treated as a valuable individual in their own right. Although it is important to appreciate that not everyone has the same needs in these two areas, ensuring that you consider carefully how you can make them feel both part of the team and special in their own right, according to your findings from step ‘B’ and your own observations, will help to create the optimum balance.

All in all, staff and managers who feel appreciated, recognised and stimulated will stay with you and perform for you. Those who don’t – won’t. Motivate your staff properly and fully and they will grow, develop and thrive and they will help your business to do the same.

If you want to get to know additional motivation tools, take a look at the whole eBook “Getting Motivation right”. It is free to download.

Bookboon Getting motivation right
Getting motivation right - bookboon.com

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