Here are six practical steps you can take to motivate your staff to deliver the results you need.
1. Clarify what you want
Your people need to have a clear understanding of the results you truly care about as well as the actions and attitudes you want them to display.
How do you differentiate between exceptional, average and poor performers in your mind? If staff know the criteria you use to assess their performance they are more likely to rise to the occasion.
2. Reward people who give you what you want
It has been proved by behavioural psychologists that people are motivated to repeat behaviours that bring them some form of reward. Not all managers control staff pay levels, but you are likely to have some degree of control over the distribution of plum assignments and workplace perks. You can also consider low cost gifts.
Not all rewards need to be tangible. People value anything that makes them feel appreciated. Sometimes even a simple ‘thank you’ can work wonders.
Regardless of which form of reward you choose, it is essential you explicitly tie the reward to a specific behaviour or achievement and that you only offer these extra rewards to people who deliver what you really want in the way you want it.
3. Show care and compassion for your staff
People like working with managers who care. Showing care and compassion is different than rewarding staff through appreciation. It’s not tied to their attitudes, actions and performance and also means taking a genuine interest in your staff and their lives.
Caring leaders understand how other people feel and can see the world the way they do! Performing small acts of kindness shows you are aware of other people’s needs as well as your own.
Compassionate leaders go even further by coaching their staff and giving them one-on-one time when it’s requested, listening to their problems and then using questions to help them move forward.
4. Build connections and foster collaboration between staff
People are generally social creatures; not only do we belong to families, we actively forge a circle of friends and take pride in being a member of a broad range of social groups ranging from organisations to nations.
People like to feel they belong and you can foster a genuine desire to come to work amongst your staff by nurturing friendships between them and offering opportunities for truly collaborative work.
Use social events to help build a sense of belonging and boost morale. Celebrating team members’ birthdays, going out as a team, supporting a local charity as a team or organising team-building programmes, are some of the ways you can achieve this.
5. Challenge staff to make a real difference
People like to be challenged to leave their mark on the people around them, so start by giving your staff interesting and challenging work. Increase their autonomy, tap into their personal passions and specialist expertise and delegate entire tasks in which they are responsible for all aspects of meeting a specified goal. Finally, reinforce these actions by highlighting how their tasks and roles make an important contribution to the organisation.
6. Make decision-making transparent
We all have a natural instinct to protect ourselves from unfair treatment of any kind. Your decisions cannot always be popular with every person they affect, but if you make them transparent, people will be far more likely to think them reasonable and fair. Over time, this leads to staff feeling safe and secure rather than worried and resentful.
Steve Savva FCICM
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