What do you really know about motivating others? This has fast become a critical skill for managers. Why? Because employees have a lot on their minds today. There are a lot of distractions and a lot of worries. Things are changing at a rapid pace. Everyone is worried about their safety and struggling to make sense of our new reality.
Many employees are now working from home and for those that are not accustomed to this, it can be difficult to stay motivated and get things done. At-home employees run the risk of feeling overwhelmed without anyone to go through the changes with. They can feel confused about how their roles might be different working at home. They can feel unsure of how to accomplish tasks that they were experts in before these changes. So it is important for managers to understand motivation in general and what they can do to motivate their teams.
Take this quiz to discover how well you motivate others. Answer True or False, to see how you’re doing in lighting and kindling the fire of enthusiasm in your employees.
1. I know things about the personal lives of those who work with me, such as how many children they have or their special hobbies or musical taste.
2. I try to ask questions rather than give direct orders.
3. When making a request, I match the benefits of the task to the goals and values of the person I am asking.
4. I give specific and sincere praise for improvements in performance, so as to let people know that I have noticed. I celebrate successes.
5. When I give criticism, I begin with honest appreciation for what is being done well and right. I follow that with an “and” rather than a “but” before delivering criticism.
6. Put simply, I treat others the way I would like to be treated.
7. I set goals that are reasonable but that require stretching. Whenever possible, I work with individuals to set goals together.
8. I respect the professionalism and expertise of those I supervise. I ask for their input in planning, and I give them autonomy and authority to complete projects.
9. I share my own thinking and values around the goals and projects set.
10. Rather than worry too much about others’ weaknesses, I focus on building their strengths.
11. If those I supervise are not motivated, I look first to myself and what I need to change about myself or my approach.
12. I give constant feedback, both verbal and statistical, so that my direct-reports always know how they’re doing.
13. I am motivated, enthusiastic, transparent and energetic. I have good balance in my work/personal life, and I love what I do. In effect, I am modeling the traits I want to see in others.
14. I am always on the lookout for challenging tasks for those I supervise.
15. Everyone I work with understands what the company’s mission and vision mean to them as individuals.
If you answered false more often than true, you might want to consider giving the topic more attention. Motivating others isn’t always easy. But because it doesn’t really come from you (it comes from within your employees), it may be easier and more fun than you think. It’s not about what you have to control, but about what you can help unleash! (Quiz content used under license, © 2010 Claire Communications)
To help you help employees unleash their motivation, there are 2 key pieces to understand. One is understanding motivation in general and the other is understanding values and how they play a key role in job satisfaction.
So let’s talk about motivation. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has long been a tool used to talk about motivation. It is important to understand where each person on your team falls in the pyramid. Many of your employees were probably in the Esteem and Self-Actualization areas of the pyramid, achieving, accomplishing, learning and mastering. But during a time of crisis, added stress and worry, many of us have shifted our focus to Physiological needs, like getting enough food when we see bare grocery shelves or Safety needs around our employment and the health of ourselves and our families. This can cause a shift in our motivation to be productive, creative or accomplished because we are forced to focus elsewhere. What can you do as a manager or in your company to help people satisfy their Physiological and Safety needs so they will be motivated to move back up the pyramid?
The next part of the pyramid is the Love and Belonging needs. They must be satisfied in order to reach the next level. How we satisfy those needs at work has changed for remote employees. We can no longer talk around the coffee pot or have hallway conversations. How can you help employees replace that need to connect personally? Are they able to connect with their co-workers from home to have a friendly, personal conversation? The “social” aspect of work is a big bonus employees get for commuting to the office every day. It is an important part of building good working relationships. The more you can help them stay connected, the better morale and motivation will be.
Now let’s talk about Core Values. In career coaching, Core Values are the number one factor in job satisfaction. If values are not honored or respected, people become dissatisfied enough to want to change their situation and leave. Core Values most definitely contribute to motivation. How are your employees’ core values being affected? It would be a helpful exercise to ask your staff about their core values and ask them to list their top three. Then check in with them individually about how they are feeling around their values and examine what you can do as their manager to help them satisfy those values. For a list of core values, visit our website at https://nancyokeefeconsulting.com/core-values
Nancy O’Keefe, MBA, MS, is a Workplace Strategist, Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, and Author of the Book Unlimited Talent: What Every CEO Needs to Know to Win the Workforce War. She works with CEOs and senior executives to create profitable and productive workplaces that attract, motivate and retain great people. She is a thought leader in strategy, management and cultivating talent. She can be found at http://www.NancyOKeefeConsulting.com