Defining motivation (inner beliefs)
Assets, vehicles, machines are both useless without humans beyond the scene. People say people are the most important asset of any organization. I quite agree with this statement since it is the brain (people’s mindset) that could drive the entire organization towards a common purpose. Thoughts are the source of all actions.
People passionate to a certain mission are extremely powerful. Therefore, managers are seeking more and more to discover how to motivate people on a daily basis.
Motivation is the willing to act.
Recently, researches have proved that motivation comes from inside, not from external factors. Just ask your staff what motivates him. As simples as that!
Another important research made in 2005 by Towers Perrin with 86 thousands employees among 16 countries concluded that only 14% of people are really giving their best. While 85% of people, are working with less than their 100% potential. Either because of high bureaucracy throughout the organization, strong hierarchy or lack of objectives.
Well, before continuing the text, I’d like to share a believing that I think has close connection to this subject. I was asking myself a couple of days ago, how is it possible change people’s behavior?
There is a National Geographic program called “Dog Whisperer” which shows dogs with behavior problems and in all occasions the master use to correct the owner’s behavior’s first as pack leaders. The program’s most famous slogan is: “Exercise, discipline and affection on a daily basis”.
Despite it solves quite well for dogs, and I personally think this recipe could also help on changing people, I concluded that humans just change their behavior for a strong reason. A reason that they are fully convinced that it is the correct way. It should have the fundamentals on their personal values and beliefs.
So what could change a person’s behavior?
A religion, for instance.
Maybe this could be the only way to change the behavior of a person.
Of course, I don’t want to point out here which is the correct religion to be followed but to highlight that by having a strong believe inside, any human could move and behave accordingly.
Coming back to the subject…
Yes, it’s right. Managers have to start to create a culture through the organization that could become a religion inside people’s heart and mind. Leading employees to the same purpose will create a strong frontline of workers that will possibly create the most competitive advantage of the company.
How to motivate?(recognizing needs)
As mentioned above, the first step is to involve all staffs, from the bottom to the top of the organization and investigate what motivates them. It is important to know them deep inside. Ask questions focused on discovering their beliefs and desires. Find out what really matters to them.
You are probably asking yourself: my company has more than 1.000 people, how can I manage to merge all beliefs and desires to a unique philosophy that everybody will get touch of it?
It is not an easy job, but as individuals, people must be treated individually. And I cannot deny that each one will have their own way to be motivated. Thus, the role of the leadership from all board of managers and supervisors will make the difference in big companies. The responsibility will be shared among the leaders and each one will find out for every people from their team what motivates them.
A simple formula is wearing your colleague’s shoes. Always you have to be aware of what will interests the other party. For example: while motivating your boss, you should be able to show that your idea will improve his job such as a changing of a management system to a faster and clearer one. While motivating a staff, you can show the importance of his job to the entire organization and provide empowerment by allowing him to take decisions (if this is what motivates him).
Studies show that compliments use to motivate more than criticizes. Show respect to gain respect. As all relationships, they have a beginning on trust. Trust your colleague is always acting in good faith (honesty).
Another important point to be reminded on how to motivate is to notice the actual situation of the person you are trying to motivate. According to the Maslow pyramid, there are 5 levels of needs and meeting your co-worker’s needs is a condition to keep him motivated.
- Level 1: Physiological Needs: water, food, sleep, sex…
- Level 2: Safety Needs: sense of security
- Level 3: Social Needs: be part of a group
- Level 4: Esteem Needs: be recognized by other people
- Level 5: Self-actualization: achievements, winnings
An exaggerated example just to illustrate: you will not motivate a hungry individual without food with compliments only, because their first level has not been fulfilled.
Last but not least, the old and good communication. This is probably one of the most important. Be sure that your communication with them is being effective. Communication is too much more than a simple “good morning” looking to their eyes every early morning. It is also your body language. You must transmit commitment and balance through your words and your body.
Communication is also “what” and “how” to pass information. One of the key factors to demotivate people is the gossip. The lack of communication helps to rise up gossips throughout the entire organization.
Listen and observe (constantly assessment)
As the world is in a constant changing, so does the market and do the people. A manager has to establish on a daily basis the task to assess their individual’s motivation situation. The exercise to listen to them and observe their behavior will bring lots of insights about their situation. For example: smiles, works delivered on time without mistakes, punctuality and other are signs of motivation. While, absenteeism, lack of new ideas and suggestions, minimum self care about healthy and wearing for instance, can be signs that things are not going well.
But, more than assess is to prevent people’s motivation sink down.
There are a couple of things that could be done in order to maintain or even increase motivation on medium and long terms.
Make people be part of the decision-making process. Invite them to define their targets together (not leaving behind the company’s strategy). It is important to the individual feel useful and important on the future of the organization.
Make yourself open and welcome to their suggestions and always considering their feedbacks. While not accepting them, give a good and reasonable explanation. It is highly appreciated when they execute their own ideas.
Conflicts and problems are also opportunities to improve motivation. The point of view could make totally difference when good managers discuss problems with a “focusing on solution” mindset; bad managers are judging staffs and criticizing their failures.
Good managers invite people together and define new way to work rather than just spit down their orders.
Create a system of rewards that challenge the staff to give their best. Rewarding systems not adjusted to the reality of the team can demotivate as described below:
- Challenges too easy to achieve will: create anxiously, delay jobs (people will sub estimate their work), foment lack of interest, rise idleness.
- Challenges too difficult to achieve will: cause stress, promote internal fights (not healthy competitions), make people give up too easy.
Review your way constantly to always be challenging them.
Celebrate and create a culture of victories. Small or big victories shall be registered and celebrated with enthusiasm as they will encourage going further to next levels.
This issue is polemic. And I assume there is no unique recipe. However, techniques and experience will support a manager to perform one of their most important roles: motivate people. It is important to reinforce that managers are suppose to create the environment and conditions to help people get motivated as per motivation as an inner feeling, people shall be open to be influenced and develop its own motivation. Thus, managers’ role is more on facilitating this move.
It was clearly seen that people are motivated by the passion per an idea. Just be aware of what motivates your staff, colleague or superior by keeping close relationship with them. Listen to their beliefs and to the tasks that makes them happy at the work environment.
Motivate is the art to indentify and meet people’s needs. Finding what exactly motivate people and apply it will lead them to change their behavior.
It is important to make a constantly evaluation to always keep developing workers towards giving their best.
This theme is so complex but at the same time so important, that can easily change the future of your organization. Because, the secret of making things differently and better is inside people’s brains.
The probability of your company succeed is proportionally high according to people’s motivation.
Are you motivated to start change people’s life?…starting tomorrow?