Monday, 20 July 2015

Motivating Others

Hot on the heels of my blogs on Line Management and Procrastination, here’s one on motivation.

They all kind of go hand in hand and there’s definitely some overlap.

Part of line managing others is motivating them and helping them motivate themselves so if they do fall into a ‘trough of listlessness’ there are things you and they can do.

So how do you motivate others?

Money is often the least of it, although everyone wants to earn a good wage for the work they do.  

Paying people a decent wage is important – the idea of zero hour contracts or below a living wage is anathema and undermines people’s self-respect and self-esteem.

Other issues have a great deal of weight though and if companies want to get the most out of their people there are some really really simple things they can do.

Acknowledge what people are doing. This sounds so easy and yet I find it incredibly surprising and sad the number of managers who don’t say anything positive to their staff.  When I’ve mentioned this to them a common answer is, “When someone does something special, then I’ll say something.”  Or even worse, “It’s my job to point out their mistakes.”

You know what?  In my mind, showing up on time and doing the work is special. Sometimes people have really tedious bits to their jobs and it’s important to let them know that you know they have to do the boring stuff as well as the tastier bits. Saying ‘thank you’ isn’t all that hard to do and if you struggle to say it (for goodness sake!) then bring in a box of chocolates or some other treat as a form of acknowledgement.

Speaking of treats… treats don’t have to be big extravaganzas.  They can be as basic as buying in pizza or something else yummy for lunch; going out after work for a pint; doing something silly together so you all have a laugh.

Get to know people. Learn something new about your people; take an interest in what they do in their leisure time or causes that mean a lot to them. Remember stuff they told you about and ask about it. Everyone, every single person has something unique inside them and hearing about their ‘other’ selves is moving, inspiring and indeed motivating.

Get them involved. Ask people their opinions and listen to them. Companies often give lip service to the fact that their people are their greatest asset and then don’t use that resource. Impact Factory absolutely could not grow if it wasn’t for the input of every single member of the team in some form or another. It can be brainstorming to solve a problem; a team member making a suggestion on efficiency or a better coffee machine; discussions about what could make our booking system better. 

You don’t have to accept every idea that’s offered, but my word, our people come up with really good ideas because they’re on the ‘coal face’ and can see what might work better.

Let people know what’s going on.  The rumour mill exists in every organisation, in every community, in every household.  We do seem to be hard wired for gossip to a lesser or greater degree. Rumour mills, however, get fed when people don’t actually know what’s going on; when they don’t know what’s going on, they make it up.  The more what’s been made up makes the rounds, the more it feels like the truth. 

It’s empowering to give staff regular updates on what’s going on, especially stuff that might be causing anxiety, confusion or concern.  Don’t wait till a problem is all sorted; get people up to speed as it’s being sorted. Remember, they might have some good ideas to offer that might help.

Those are just a few of the things that will motivate your people and make a real difference to your organisation.  As well, you will become a much better line manager. Then you can truly say that your people are your greatest asset.

Check out Impact Factory’s range of Personal Impact, Influencing and Leadership courses and our Elite Five Day Communicate with Impact Training.

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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