Do you dream of motivating your people to be as engaged as you are? Stop wasting time with gimmicks that don’t last. Learn to develop a perpetually motivated team.

8-Steps-Ebook-Ad-for-Blog-Post-InsertBusiness owners and managers across the globe are faced with the demand of maximizing their people’s productivity. They want to be inspiring and supportive–but time crunches, stress and bad habits unintentionally smother team morale instead.

Leaders often respond to their team’s sluggish performance by offering shiny trinkets as an incentive to anyone who can hit their goal for the week, or by bellowing from the center of the sales floor, “Come on team…you can do it! Just smile and dial…smile and dial!” Managers only do these things in an attempt to light a fire under their teams, but unfortunately the only matches they’re equipped with are the same old, soggy sticks of sparkless wood they inherited from their current boss or previous managers.  If you have ever managed anyone, or had the pleasure of being the recipient of this type of management style, you know how ineffective and unsustainable these tactics are.

It is possible however, to consistently and authentically keep your team motivated by adopting these 5 secrets of incredible motivators:

1. Tap into people’s individuality.

Think about your team. Do you really know what motivates them? Do you know exactly how they want to be managed, motivated, supported and held accountable? If they didn’t tell you, then you could be making a very costly assumption. Your team is comprised of unique individuals. To inspire and motivate for the long-term, tap into your people’s individuality by asking well-crafted questions such as, “What gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?” “What do you enjoy most about your job?” “How do you like to be acknowledged for a job well done?” Watch More

2. Manage people how they want to be managed.

Leaders are the first to admit that it’s the tougher conversations they tend to avoid. They procrastinate dealing with employee performance until they get so frustrated, their positive coaching style gets replaced with destructive reactionary explosions instead. By learning to manage people how they want to be managed, no conversation is a tough conversation.

Learn how your people want to be managed by asking better questions. “What barriers do you need to be mindful of that could get in the way of you reaching your goals?” How can I best manage and support you so that you can achieve your goals?” “How can I hold you accountable in a way that will sound supportive rather than negative?” Watch More

3. Utilize pleasure rather than consequence.

Most leaders tend to have their binoculars on backwards. They inadvertently minimize what their people are doing well, while magnifying their weaknesses and failures. As a result, teams learn what their managers don’t want them to do, but never really know what behaviors and best practices their leaders do want them to consistently engage in, develop and sustain.

Turning your binoculars around converts a culture from looking to avoid the fear driven consequences into a culture of pleasure focused, positive motivation towards a shared, collective goal. “Why didn’t you hit your quota?” becomes “How will you adjust your strategy and approach so that you can hit your goals moving forward?”  “Why didn’t you close that deal?” transforms into, “What can you adjust or fine tune  so that you can achieve the results you want the next time you’re in that situation?” Watch More

4. Foster healthier conversations.

When leaders attempt to create buy in around a new solution or idea for their team, it’s common to encounter resistance–or at least be subjected to conflicting opinions or proposals. Your response to such feedback will either further cultivate the highly engaged culture you want, or swiftly bash its head in with wrecking ball results.

Instead of pounding your authoritative chest with, “Look, this is just the way it needs to be done,” try “That’s interesting. Can you share with me your thinking around that?”  Be curious and seek to understand their point of view to shift from confrontation to conversation and most important; alignment. Ask questions such as, “What else could be possible?” “Before we make a final decision around this, what other facts might we want to consider?” “What’s the common ground that we share?” Watch More

5. Relinquish role of Chief Problem Solver.

There exists a great leadership paradox. That is, leaders create the very problems they want to avoid most. Continually putting out fires and solving their people’s challenges result in the frustration of not having people who are self-motivated or accountable for their goals. Repeatedly providing your people with quick solutions trains them not to be accountable. You send the message to your people that they can rely on you to fix their problems for them–and the real irony is, when your solution doesn’t work, it’s then your fault.

Taking off your Chief Problem Solver hat makes your people more valuable and sharpens their problem solving skills. Next time you’re asked for a quick solution–don’t give in and take the bait! Besides all you’re really doing when imparting all of your wisdom and expertise is building robots or managing in your own image, rather than tapping into theirs. Instead, ask them, “What is the result you’re looking to achieve here?” “Can you share the specifics of what’s going on?” “How have you handled something like this before?” “What’s another solution or approach that might work in your situation now?” Watch More

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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