Have you ever bought a gadget or a toy for your kid that has a sticker on it that mentions “no battery included”?
Finding the right battery for a new toy is more or less similar as finding out what keeps your employees motivated. In the end the goal is the same: finding the energy to get the task done. But how do you figure out what triggers the best energy flow?
Motivating your team is actually rather an art than a science. Here are four technics that will increase your chances of finding the right mix:
1. Focus on the big picture
One of the best motivational triggers is looking at the present situation from a broader point of view. For example, when you just started your company, chances are that your goals are broader than just wanting to own a business. You might be aiming for independence; creating a better life for you and your loved ones; wanting to help people or making the world a better place. Keep in mind that our real motivation comes from looking at the big picture, not our daily tasks.
The same goes for your employees. If you notice a lack of motivation or productivity, it’s probably due to a gap in understanding the correlation between the daily tasks execution and the reason “why” it is done. “Why is it important for these tasks to be accomplished?” Make sure they understand why their work is important as often as possible. This way, when their motivation is weak, just remind them how their actions impact the whole picture. This can be very powerful.
2. Emphasize the importance of process
Sometimes your team can start procrastinating and not see the harm of a few undone tasks. However, what can seem harmless or useless can actually have a huge impact on what comes up next. This why it’s so important to clearly explain each required step of the process that will get you to your goal. Make it clear that there are no useless steps! Just as they say in the entertainment business: “There are no small roles, only small actors”. The same goes for any business; there are no small steps, just small minds.
Obviously this can only happen once your tasks have been clearly defined. It might also be time to audit your business and sort redundant or inappropriate tasks from the important ones.
3. Notice what interests them
The most efficient motivational trigger won’t come from you, but from your employees themselves. When you’re having a conversation with them, pay attention to what they say and how they say it. Chances are that they might give you some hints. Some words or expressions can stand out. Remember these are clues! These key words are recognizable because of the way they are pronounced, with emphasis, the volume of the voice increases and is usually accompanied by gestures. Look into their eyes; they will start to light up when they unveil clues about themselves.
4. Make positive reinforcement
One of the best ways of setting the foundations of future motivation is to plan rewards. If you get someone motivated into doing something, but you don’t plan his reward, he will end up getting frustrated and won’t be interested next time you ask him anything. The recognition of past victories is a very good way of motivating future actions. Failing to do so can generate frustrations and put your employees in an uncomfortable situation.
A good leader must be a constant motivator, and employees should come to him when they need their dose.