Knowing how to motivate people is a skill. It is something all managers strive to do and something that, done well, can have a huge impact on employee engagement.
Before starting to develop your motivational skills, there is one key question to ask yourself first......do you know what motivation is?
Motivation is something that drives people to do something, take action or achieve goals.
For people that lack motivation it can feel very difficult to do or finish something. This can involve someone procrastinating so as to avoid doing a certain task or piece of work, or doing it poorly so not being required to complete the task.
At any one time you may find that that you are motivated to do some things and less motivated to do others. How you deal with the latter can be very difficult.
There are many definitions of what motivation is, I like to think that it is simply to get someone to do their best.
Everyone has different motivations. Some people like a challenge, some like to learn new skills and stretch their knowledge or experience, others may be motivated by money.
The key for any leader is to build strong working relationships with your team(s) so that you can better understand what their motivations are.
Motivate and Engage
Consider a task that you have on your 'to do' list that you have been putting off. This is likely to be due to lack of motivation for the given task. So why are you lacking motivation? It could simply be a 'mundane task', it could be something you don't enjoy or it may be something you don't agree with doing.
Whatever the reason, it is important to recognise these responses/reactions in your employees. Think about what will motivate them, but also, what will de-motivate them.
Providing your employees with tasks that motivate them will create greater engagement from them with the task in hand. Tasks that stretch and challenge employees can have this positive effect.
Now consider a day when you have got home and thought 'that was a good day'. Also, when you have got home and thought 'what a rubbish/bad day'.
Think about what made it good or bad. Many times, this will somehow be connected to your manager/leader. It may be that they haven't provided you with feedback, they may have given someone else a task you really wanted, they may not have recognised an excellent piece of work you completed. Whatever the reason, there is sometimes/usually a link.
That's why you, as managers or leaders really need to develop the relationships with your team(s) so that you know and understand what motivates them.
Consider your current team(s), are there individuals who are motivated by praise/recognition; being challenged; money; being trusted with an important task etc?
Whatever their motivations, once you understand these, you will unlock a great skill of increasing employee engagement and high performance.
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