Have you ever bought a new gadget or toy for your kids or yourself and seen that mildly annoying “batteries not included” sticker?
Getting the right batteries for your new gizmo is similar to finding the right motivation for your employees. The end goal is the same: energy for action, but you need the right connection to trigger that flow of energy.
A national study on employee engagement has found that only 1 in 4 employees are motivated at work. For a manager whose success depends on the productivity of their employees, these statistics don’t exactly inspire confidence. So, it might be time to re-evaluate your approach to employee motivation, and take a look at what really motivates them.
1. Focus on the bigger picture.
One of the most universal motivational triggers is connecting a current action with a bigger vision. For example, when you started your business, it’s very likely that you had some motivation beyond having a business for business’s sake. You might have wanted freedom to build a better life for you and your loved ones, to help people or to make the world a better place in some way. What drives you is the bigger picture, not the daily to-dos.
Your team is no different. If you’re seeing a lack in motivation or productivity, it’s probably because they’ve lost the connection between what they are doing and their “why.” Actively search for their “why” during conversations, so that when there is a lull in motivation, you can be there to remind them of the big picture. Help them see how their puzzle piece fits in to build a larger picture.
2. Emphasize the importance of process.
Sometimes teams procrastinate because they don’t think there’s any harm in putting off certain tasks. Little do they know that what seems inconsequential to them is actually a cornerstone for your next steps. You might need to explain the chain of events that are necessary to accomplish the big goals. No step is unimportant. Like they say in theatre, there are no small roles, only small actors. In your business, there are no small steps, only small thinking. Of course, this only applies if you don’t have unnecessary redundancies. If you do, it’s a good idea to do an audit and clean out the cobwebs of your procedures.
3.Focus on the “We” Mindset
Many times, when managers notice an unmotivated employee, they instantly start looking for the issue within that individual team member. However, when managers place blame on an employee or ask, “Why are you doing this?” they’re often only discouraging their employees, not motivating them.
This can make withdrawn employees feel even more withdrawn. It is important to remember that many times when employees are not performing as normal, there is a reason behind it, and typically it is because the employee feels unappreciated.
In order to keep employees engaged in what they are doing or your company and keep them motivated, start approaching on the ‘we’ mindset while working with team members. Issues should be approached as “What can we do to help?” and “How can we remedy this problem?” Doing this avoids the issue of placing blame on an employee, and it also gives team members an opportunity to reconnect with their company.
Struggling team members that are approached with the ‘we’ mindset instead of the ‘I’ mindset are also likely to jump in and fix any issues with their performance right away. This is because they often feel as though their actions more severely impact the team instead of just their individual standing within the company.
4. Use positive reinforcement.
One of the best ways to lay the groundwork for future motivation is to acknowledge and reward successes. If you motivate someone to take action, but don’t acknowledge the accomplishment, they will be jaded when you approach them again in the future for something else. Recognition of past successes is a motivator for future progress. Failing to do so can lead to bitter and defensive employees.
Leaders need to be a constant source of motivation. Your team should come to you to recharge their batteries, not leave feeling more drained. Pay attention their needs.
5. Spend More Time Inspiring and Less Time Micro-Managing
Many times, busy managers spend so much time attempting to micro-manage and control the efforts of their employees that they forget to inspire their team members. Research has revealed that individuals who work for leaders they find to be inspiring are often more committed, productive and satisfied. They are also more likely to stay in their jobs.
While it can be difficult to take the time to try to inspire others instead of managing the work they do, leaders who take this approach often form closer relationships with their employees and have more focused, more motivated and committed team members working under them. Inspire those around you and pay close attention to the message you deliver. The results may surprise you.
Originally posted in www.entrepreneur.com and salesforce.com