Motivation is your Success
Leading a team is challenging at the best of times and a huge factor in its success, is motivation…
Throw in a pandemic; temporarily close offices where people come to work together, set everyone up to work from home with short notice and still carry on delivering an outstanding service as a successful business ... suddenly the task of motivating yourself, let alone everyone else around you, becomes an even higher mountain to climb. Inspiration and motivation come from within and when there is so much uncertainty around us, it is expected that even the best leaders will struggle with their own motivation.
We can all appreciate that during difficult times, motivation could be more important than ever before - motivated teams are likely to weather the storm, continue to be productive, deliver quality service and go the ‘extra mile’, all while being happy and engaged.
We do need to remember that motivation is not something you learn once and just remember to draw upon, forever. You cannot just read the book and suddenly be transformed into a highly motivated, engaged, well-oiled machine. Motivation takes practice, commitment, and the right attitude. Nobody can give it to you or take it away….it is something that you must find and work on, for yourself.
The harder you work for something, the greater you will feel when you achieve it… push yourself because nobody else do it for you.
What Motivates People?
With so many factors affecting the unique nature of personal motivation, it can be difficult to pinpoint someone’s motivation… but with a basic understanding of the main principles it is easier.
Having recently completed a Motivational Map on myself, I realised that what motivates me, will not necessarily motivate others that I work with, live with or even socialise with. When you can learn to understand what motivates the teams you work with, you are far more equipped to inspire them to be more engaged and motivated. I think it is important to think that motivation is not only important, whilst at work….those who are motivated in their own personal lives will naturally be more motivated at work too.
It is therefore worth spending the time getting to know your team and understand what each individuals motivators are – this may mean having to adapt your management style, but in doing so, you will see the value in having a team of people with differing motivators. No one person is the same, so it therefore makes sense that we all have different motivators:
Why do they want the money?
Why do they like doing a good job?
Why did they get out of bed and get to work on time each day?
Why do they like the public recognition or acknowledgement that they are doing a good job?
Why do they like to work in a team setting rather than on their own? Or the contrary, for that matter?
What are their career goals?
Why are they so competitive and what is their end goal?
How do you motivate someone if you can’t make them motivated?
If you want the quick answer…Google it. You will find loads of books, videos and other motivational how to guides that may give you the band aid response you are looking for. However, all of this will be a short-term fix that will only take you so far. To create a motivational strategy that is long lasting, you need to understand what motivates your people and this can often be narrowed down, through one of the following motivators:
People look at relationships from different angles. Making friends in the workplace for example, is important for those who seek belonging, security, predictability and often, stability. There are also those, often in sales or target driven environments that look for recognition from those that they work with or want respect and a certain level of self-esteem, so relationships are viewed differently. Teams are often made up of a mixture of people who all see relationships from different angles – it does not mean that they cannot all work together, as a motivated team.
Success and achievement should not only be recognised by the financial reward that goes alongside it. Handing out bonuses every year in the hope the workforce will feel more motivated, is not the solution for everyone. It is not to say rewards don’t have a place, but they should not form the only focus of your motivational strategy.
Focus on ‘now-that’ rewards – these are the rewards that come as a surprise to the person, because they learn about it after the event. “Well done for smashing it today, here’s a gift.”
Try to limit ‘if–then’ rewards – these are rewards that people are informed of before the event. “If you hit target today you can get another bonus.”
Whilst rewards certainly do have their place (eg: Call centres, sales environments that are repetitive or highly competitive) using ‘if–then’ rewards can lead to a negative impact on a person’s intrinsic motivation and ability to achieve.
People see achievement in different ways and for some, this will be based on the size of the ‘pay packet’, for others, power, influence, or control. In all teams, having an ‘expert’ or someone who quite simply measures their achievement on their knowledge or mastery in their specialism, is as important to the success of the team as those leading the team and those, bringing in the big bucks!
Growth / Empowerment
In customer service we need to control some factors - manage resource, hit the business’s KPIs, keep costs down, all while pushing up customer sentiment, as positive representatives and advocates for the company. There is a lot to control but as a leader you must resist the urge to control everything.
Don’t Be Scared to Believe in People – Give them the freedom to grow
To build trusting relationships with your teams, you must give people ownership of their role and offer opportunities for the team to work in their own way. Allowing people to find their own way offers a sense of meaningfulness and responsibility, which of course leads to them motivated to succeed. Now, more than ever, trusting your people whilst they work from home will give them the opportunity to prove themselves and develop and grow, in the process. The point of trust and empowerment was forced to the forefront of every business recently, as social distancing kicked in with little notice. People were urged to stay at home. As a leader you may have been nervous about letting your team work from home, where you can't see what they are doing. For others, who are used to day to day management and calling the shots, letting go of the control, may have been the harder part. When we are thrown into a situation and are required to ‘sink or swim’, everyone needs to quickly adapt and by empowering people to prove themselves and take ownership often leads to a new level of success. It is still important to stay connected however and find ways to come together to ‘meet’ and discuss successes as well as challenges, in an environment where everyone feels connected, supported and motivated.
It is so important that even during the tough times, be it lockdown, social isolation or just economy being a bugger, keep the sense of purpose, the reason to continue to work, apart from just the money. Become a storyteller and connect each person’s role in your business, to the bigger picture, making it clear how important everyone is and how they truly can make a difference in the organisation.
Staying connected with your purpose in everything you do, is crucial. Don’ veer away from values, especially when faced with challenges that may see you considering your options or re-evaluating the financials. Stay true to who you are today, as this will see you through the tough times, ensuring that you come out at the other end with a team who are still motivated and focussed on the end goal, with you.
Stay Safe. Stay Active. Stay Happy.