One of the most important functions a business leader has is to motivate his or her employees. Sure, we all want to have people working for us who are self-motivated, but let’s be honest: sometimes you need to rally the troops and help them live up to their potential.
How hard can it be to motivate people? Apparently it’s no cakewalk. A search on Amazon.com for “books on motivating employees” yields 5,614 titles! Apparently a lot of business leaders struggle with this. Maybe it’s because we forget what motivates us. If I mention the words motivation or incentives, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Yep! We tend to think of monetary enticements.
Let’s not be naive. Money matters. You’re not going to attract or keep the quality of employees you want if you pay them peanuts. Raises and bonuses do stimulate and encourage people. But they aren’t enough. What will get people to be creative and to go “beyond the call of duty” you need to get at their emotions. And you need to do that by creating a sense of accomplishment of great goals.
Setting great (and realistic) goals is a big part of your job. And you have to make sure you communicate those clearly to employees. But you also need to make sure your employees have a sense of accomplishment. That means rewarding them in front of their peers. Sure the reward can have a monetary value, but peer recognition of accomplishment is huge.
Sometimes that acknowledgement can (should) come in more intimate settings. You don’t have to wait for a company-wide meeting to acknowledge a contribution. Say it out loud in a manager’s meeting. Mention it in a company-wide email. Make sure your employees know that they are building the company—not just you.
When people see that what they do—on an individual level—makes a difference, they are motivated to do more.
Here’s another tip. I mentioned earlier that we sometimes forget what motivates us. Spend some time remembering. Did you ever have an employer who motivated the socks off of you? How did he or she do it? Can you do the same thing with your employees?
I’d love to hear your ideas on what motivates you and what you’ve found that motivates your employees. Leave me your ideas in the comments section. Maybe together we can pull together title # 5,615 for Amazon’s list!