A common myth is that in order to get results we need to motivate our employees. For Managers and Leaders it is an ongoing concern and most leaders are spending a major chunk of their time trying to motivate their team to achieve the goals set out for them. HR is constantly involved in developing tools and schemes to provide support to leaders in their quest for motivating their employees.
But the real truth is that, motivation is as intangible as it is elusive and not only that, we also need to realize that it is a stimulus which may work at one point of time and not in the next scenario. Why is that so ? Actually it depends on what is a priority with an individual at any given point of time.
The question may then arise as to what a leader can do to meet these challenges ?
As every human being is unique so are the triggers that motivate people to achieve. For many it could be money, for others it could be authority and for others still they claim that the need to feel that they can make a difference. So irrespective of what your motivator to reach peak performance may be, it will still need to be managed as too much of one could weaken another area.
The study of motivation has been an area of focus for decades and many assessment tools have been used to gain insight into the personality of an employee ie what makes them tick. Psychometrics and Assessment tools like MBTI and DISC provide insight into employee’s behaviours and also help identify what you could do to motivate them. This is very important as the factors which may motivate an employee evolves with time and as they mature. So it is critical that a leader builds an interactive and direct relationship in order to focus on individual requirements of each of their employees.
There are some key elements we can focus on which help motivate employees to achieve:
- BUILD TRUSTFUL RELATIONSHIPS : An environment of trust will in turn build an atmosphere of motivation to achieve. Leaders who are open and transparent with their employees will manage to build a level of confidence with the team members helping to achieve greater results as the whole team will work in a situation of confidence and faith.
- COMMUNICATE : This is a very powerful area which is frequently overlooked. Frequent and numerous face to face communications helps builds trust and openness. Giving feedback is crucial to focusing on and improving performance. Employees will get to know that they are valued and leaders should show that they would advocate opportunities for advancement. Direct communication helps to depict your appreciation of their work.
- CAREER PROGRESSION : This maybe considered to be a key factor as generally employees are strongly motivated if they are aware that this would mean an opportunity to grow and advance. As a leader your role of opening doors for your employees and grooming them to get there you would generate a high level of motivation.
- EMPOWERMENT : Allowing an employee to do their job with minimum supervision also strongly contributes to motivation as it signifies trust and confidence. If they are constantly told what to do they will never take ownership and be ready to go the extra mile. Ask for advice, implement it and give them authority and flexibility to do things upto a certain level. This would build their confidence and also motivate them to perform.
- WALK THE TALK : The leader has to set an example. You cannot expect your employees to work hard and perform if you do not do so yourself. If you perform and set tough challenges for yourself and the team, the team will perform at the same level you set for yourself. A spirit of comrades working together is infectious in the workplace and helps to build a good working environment.
- JOB SATISFACTION : In the end it all boils down to being happy and satisfied with ones job. If an employee enjoys the work they are doing it will boost their confidence and self-worth. They will look forward to coming to work, perform well and hope and plan for a better future.
THE BOTTOM LINE BEING THAT THE MOTIVATION TO ACHIEVE IS ULTIMATELY LINKED TO EARNING A LIVING IN A JOB THAT BRINGS ONE JOY, HAPPINESS AND SATISFACTION.