From the lounge-chair sports expert to the company CEO, most people have definite views on what motivates others – and they’re probably right, in part at least. Valiant attempts to convert theory into practice, however, have not always succeeded in getting people to give that little extra. The outcome often is a reversion to manipulative and kick-in-the-backside approaches. From the plethora of information and advice about motivation, here are the essential principles…

1. Understand motivation.

Ultimately, there are only two types of motivation – people do what they do either out of love or out of fear. Many go to work because they fear what will happen if they don’t. Others go because they love it, the sense of achievement they get, the opportunity to meet with friends. Your challenge is to help employees love their work.

2. Focus on job enrichment.

Frederick Herzberg advocated enriching people’s jobs as a principal motivator. By making the job more enjoyable, you will ensure that:

  • it will provide challenges commensurate with the employee’s skills
  • the employee with more ability will be able to stand out and win promotion to higher-level jobs
  • there will be long-term improvements in employee attitudes.

Though not all jobs can be enriched (nor do they need to be), through job enrichment big gains can be made.

3. Learn to like people.

From your own experience, you already know a good deal about motivation – so continue to:

  • focus on individuals, showing a genuine interest in them
  • get to know your employees, their families, and their interests
  • listen to what they have to say
  • take time to talk to them
  • recognise their contributions
  • promote a relaxed and trusting relationship.

4. Encourage genuine participation.

Most people spend a significant part of their day at work, usually in the company of others. They are often looking for additional opportunities to use their talents fully and to develop new ones. Wherever possible, then, you should:

  • involve employees in decisions whose outcomes require their commitment
  • seek employees’ views
  • provide opportunities for achievement through interesting, varied, relatively short, and challenging tasks or projects
  • delegate tasks that help them to display particular talents
  • build interdependencies among people thus fostering cohesiveness.

5. Provide open communication.

Open, two-way communication is vital, and feedback is an essential part of that process. People like to know how you think they’re going and how they might improve even further. That’s one reason why management-by-walking-around is so effective; employees receive first-hand feedback on performance and have a chance to discuss issues that are important to them.

6. Make work itself a motivator.

Work can be a motivator if you:

  • give employees more scope to vary the methods, sequence, and pace of their work
  • give people all the information needed to monitor their own performance
  • encourage employee participation in planning and evaluating new techniques
  • increase individual responsibility for achieving defined targets or standards.

7. Lead the way by example.

Nothing turns people off faster than those who don’t practise what they preach. Motivators must be motivated, energetic, animated, with loads of zest and sparkle, striving to achieve new heights. You also need to convey confidence in others – people who are expected to succeed usually do. It’s all part of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.

8. Instil a desire to win.

If it works in sport, why not in business? Managers often fail to exploit the benefits from competition and, as a result, employees don’t extend themselves. Be aware, however, that the effect of this type of motivating decreases significantly immediately on the completion of an event.

9. Reward accomplishments.

People expect to be rewarded in some way. To make sure rewards match individual value systems, you should:

  • spell out the relationship between effort and reward – payment by results, commissions, or bonuses
  • set stretch targets that require that little extra effort
  • tell people what they have to do to be rewarded
  • place responsibility firmly with the individual
  • give praise when praise is due.

Make sure your rewards unite (rather than divide) your team.

10. Provide opportunities.

Though the doors of opportunity are marked ‘push’, it’s often managers who must show employees those doors. Motivate your staff by revealing to them the doors of opportunity in your organisation – for rewards, for achievement, for taking on additional responsibilities, for resolving problems, for sharing, for recognition, for advancement…

Are you interested in developing these type of skills further? At Global Training Institute we love seeing people excel in their current positions, as well as equipping them for future promotions. We offer short courses and qualifications in many areas such as Management, Business, Civil Construction and Project Management. Please contact us if you are looking to improve your skills…you can study online and maintain your normal working hours. Call us on 1800 998 500.