"Motivation from the Inside Out"
Posted on May 30, 2011 by Dr Robert Edmonson, One of Thousands of Executive Coaches on Noomii.
Leaders cannot achieve organizational objectives unless they have full commitment and support from others.
Do people want to follow others? The fact is
- People don’t want to be led. What they really want is exceptional communication, support, encouragement and coaching from their leaders.
Since human capital represents approximately 80% of organizational costs and considered a flexible, key resource capable of continual learning and innovation, motivating them is important to organizational success.
- Reason People Leave*
One of the largest management studies by Gallup of 80,000 managers in 400 companies found that ‘people leave managers, not companies’. They may join because of the company’s brand, image, benefits and other factors, but keeping them is another challenge. In fact, the top complaint in every organizational study shows that managers possess ‘poor people skills’.
What is Motivation?
Motivation is a topic that has been written about over and over again. There is not one definition or model, but they all have the same goal
- ‘somehow getting individuals to improve performance’. Everyone has the potential to achieve greatness, but they must be motivated to make it happen.
Motivation comes from within, not from others. Motivation is about doing something you really want to do. Leaders have a major role in proactively helping employees uncover what they want, then enable them to achieve it to influence motivation. So how can organizations and leaders motivate staff?
Motivate with Fear?
Can you bully people to perform? Research shows that companies generally use two’ ineffective’ approaches. One is using fear, threats, intimidation, coercion and strict standards. The other is based on incentives. Many leaders and organizations use the traditional motivation approach: fear. And yes, bullying does get results
- and then becomes the corporate culture that trickles throughout the firm. Everyone begins to emulate managers. Research shows that while it does keep everyone focused and pressured to achieve, it is short-lived and unsustainable. Fear does not motivate, as people only comply, but never commit.
What Motivates Each Individual?
Is everyone motivated for the same reasons? No! What drives and motivates one person may actually demotivate another. Let’s say you are motivated by financial gains and you attempt to motivate your staff using financial incentives. Only to discover attitudes and performance either remain the same or get worse.
The most effective way to truly understand each team member is to invest the time to meet with them 1:1, ask powerful questions and non-judgmentally listen to their responses. This simple act will motivate as it demonstrates your interest and appreciation for their opinion.
Ten Motivational Secrets
After you have met with each employee, asked the right questions, genuinely listened and reviewed their answers, you have a pretty clear picture of what motivates each member. Have you established trust? Assuming you have established ‘credibility’ and ‘trust’, the following 10 non-monetary motivational principles will help you achieve success.
Secret 1: Begins With You
Motivating others begins within you. A strong self-awareness, right attitude and mindset, expectations, and using a positive, solution-focused approach to every situation are primary. What you believe internally, you project externally to others. If you direct your thinking to negatives, your energy goes there and everyone follows.
Secret 2: Work Environment
A recent study revealed that ‘working conditions’ ranked as number two in terms of importance. So, it can affect moods, attitudes and cause frustration. Therefore, it’s important to create a cosmetically, comfortable environment.
Secret 3: Collaborative Communication
Motivational leaders build an open, collaborative, positive, solution-focused, thinking environment of sharing and facilitating communication with others. They know that being effective is NOT only ‘what they know’, but ‘what they observe’. It’s not only what they observe, but ‘how well they listen’. And most important, it’s not how well they listen, but ‘how well they understand’.
Encourage Independent Thinking
Thinking for others is non-productive and that they must think for themselves. Leaders appreciate that individuals must look inside themselves to identify their greatness, strengths and key development areas to motivate themselves.
Ask More, Tell Less
Do you ask questions? Leaders generally don’t ask questions, but are hard-wired to ‘tell’ and offer ‘quick fixes’. Telling others what to do and how to do it discourages innovative, creative thinking and demotivates. They are unmotivated to act on your ideas, but will on their own.
Listen More, Talk Less
Do you listen more than you talk? When we read or hear the word ‘communication’ we immediately think of speaking and listening never enters our thoughts. Motivational leaders listen more than they talk.
Storytelling is a highly effective method to discovering, inspiring creativity and innovative thinking focused on solutions and motivating your team. The goal is to ‘influence and change the individual, their beliefs, perspectives and thinking’. Also, the words, phrasing and language used build the foundation of reality and transforms thinking.
Use Humor and ‘Up Mouth’
Are you always serious with a frown on your face? Humor quickly builds rapport, motivates, and creates an environment of calmness, support, receptiveness and can increase mental clarity. Also, consciously practice ‘Up Mouth’ (a ‘soft smile’). Use it frequently to get into the habit of constantly wearing it. That small change in appearance can significantly impact how others perceive you.
Secret 4: Set Them Up For Success
What is the biggest demotivator? Failure. To avoid setting individuals up for failure you must thoroughly understand their competencies and abilities then align them with the right position.
Secret 5: Surrender Control
Micromanaging is non-productive and highly demotivating. Although instructions, training and requirements help staff quickly understand the job
- motivational leaders shift control outcomes to individuals. Allowing freedom to design and control their own work inspires creativity and can improve productivity and results.
Secret 6: Continuous Learning and Development
Do people want to stay the same? Humans have an inherent desire to learn new skills and experience personal growth. Motivational leaders work with individuals to help them identify particular skills required to strengthen their competencies
- then make available relevant internal or external training. Individuals are inspired by continuous learning as it ensures ongoing success, promotions and builds loyalty.
Secret 7: Coaching and Mentoring
Coaching is employee development. Your only cost is time. Time means you care. Remember your people don’t care how much you know
- until they know how much you care.
Training is important to learning and knowledge. But studies show training improves productivity by only 22%
- when combined with coaching productivity increased to 88%.
Mentoring enables individuals to be guided by experienced colleagues who share information, knowledge and experience. It motivates both the mentee who feels connected and supported
- and the mentor who becomes a teacher and inspiration to others which improves their attitude and motivation.
Don’t Forget Top Performers!
Unfortunately the company’s most competent individuals receive less attention, training, coaching and feedback than low performers. Top performers highly value coaching, feedback and personal development opportunities to continue strengthening their skills.
Secret 8: Appreciation, Recognition and Praise
When was the last time you complemented someone? Some leaders are reluctant to give subordinates credit for their contributions because they fear it will somehow endanger their own career. When team members excel it further validates your leadership skills and demonstrates that you have created more great leaders, not more followers.
Praising and appreciating others is powerful. Simply, it is recognizing the person and showing appreciation. Praise is a basic human necessity as everyone wants and needs it. Motivational leaders are masterful at giving on-the-spot praise. Their praise is sincere and from the heart, not contrived to manipulate others.
Secret 9: Encouragement and FeedForward
When you give a performance review, do you first speak the positives, then transition into what they did wrong? People welcome positive feedback, support and words of encouragement. Motivational leaders always look forward and use Marshall Goldsmith’s FeedForward thinking which focuses on what was successful, NOT what went wrong. Unlike feedback sessions, FeedForward meetings are collaborative and explore what went right and how to make it even better. It’s about knowledge and learning.
Secret: 10 Handling Underperformance
When people do not perform well, they feel very negative as they are their own worst critics. They continually think about the reasons for their failure which increase the mental hard-wiring that caused it
-- creating barriers to thinking and exploring possible solutions.
When people fail, they usually expect to be reprimanded by management. However, motivational leaders do not criticize performance. Instead they avoid an emotional situation by using the ‘self-directed’ approach and do not focus on what went wrong and why. The objective is to allow the person to rethink the situation, uncover what they learned and what they can do going forward to improve.
Copyright 2008 Paradigm21 Robert Edmonson
Article may be used by referencing author and Paradigm21 website: www.paradigm21.com