Over the last couple of days, we’ve looked at managers and their practices. It seems like workers who commented were quick to say that their managers use practices that discourage them and make the work place an unpleasant one. Even the workers who had a manager to praise went on to say that their great manager was in the minority. Evidently, some managers have difficulty motivating their employees to the point that they enjoy getting things accomplished in the office.
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, here are the characteristics of managers who have difficulty with motivation:
- Has no idea what motivates others or how to do it
- Subordinates don’t do their best
- Not empowering; not a person people want to work with
- May be a one-size-fits-all person (simplistic); only interested in getting the work out
- Has difficulty with those who are different then himself
- Fails to read others correctly; misses cues and needs
- Can be judgemental and stereotypes
- Demotivates others intentionally or unintentionally
Does this describe you? All is not lost if it does. In fact, the CCL extensively tests program participants to identify leadership problem areas. Based on the findings of the testing, a program of improvement is devised using the text, For Your Improvement: A Developmental and Coaching Guide, which provides easy to follow prescriptions to improve one’s leadership practices. For those experiencing difficulty in motivating others here are 10 steps to improvement:
- Follow the basic rules of inspiring others – In other words, treat others how you would want to be treated. Say, “Thank you.” Offer help and ask for it as well. Give subordinates freedom in how they accomplish assigned tasks. Provide enriching and challenging assignments. Show an interest. Celebrate successes. Most of us are thinking that none of this is Earth-shattering. However, some people just don’t get it.
- Know and play the motivation odds – If you could do only a few things to motivate your workers, what would you do? Increase pay? Be more friendly? Use more praise? Dangle a promotion in front of subordinates? Although these come to mind quickly, they are not the motivators that have been found the most powerful. According to research by Rewick and Lawler, the big motivation guns are 1) Job challenge 2) Accomplishing something worthwhile 3) Learning new things 4) Personal Development and 5) Autonomy. This will surprise some managers.
- Use goals – Workers like reasonable goals, those that they stand a good chance reaching but still require stretching. Workers are motivated even more by goals they help set.
- Pay attention – Listen and look. What do they say with their words? When and where do they show emotion? What are their values?
- Stop being judgemental – Being judgemental never works while trying to motivate others.
- Talk their language – This indicates respect for their way of thinking. It helps to open others up and give you information that can help to motivate.
- Bring the subordinate into your world – Be open with them. Explain your thinking on issues. Help them to understand the “whys” behind your desires.
- Motivating is personal – Get to know your workers. You should be able to cite three non-work related things about each of your employees. What sports do they like? How many children do they have? What kind of music do they listen to?
- Turn negatives into motivators – If the worker is touchy about something, is quiet and a loner, or is demotivated, look for the cause and try to help. By helping him/her to overcome difficulties, the worker may respond.
- Make work meaningful – Allow workers to help plan the project. Give them the autonomy and authority to work the project. Solicit their opinions on important decisions. Ask workers for feedback. Debrief projects together.
In short, people are motivated by someone who cares for them and trusts them. They are motivated by those who respect their professionalism and expertise.