Motivating Your Employees And Colleagues

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I am hopping that this post will provide you with tips on how  to create a motivating work environment and offer a basic understanding of employees motivation.

Some days it is a challenge to keep myself motivated. The enthusiasm to accomplish a specific task seems to disappear magically. It was there, but it isn’t now. So where did it go?

The task at hand might be sticking to my diet and avoiding those chocolate chip cookies. Or it might be finishing that report I started a week ago.

Where can I find my motivation?

So if keeping yourself motivated is so hard what do you do as a leader in your company? Many job descriptions will include a piece on motivating your team. We get set the task of motivating our colleagues and keeping them that way. We need them to be enthusiastic about accomplishing work.

Everyone has something in their life that motivates them. Click To Tweet
Motivating employees is based on getting the little things right.
“Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.” – Lee Iacocca

As a leader, it is your challenge to firstly create the work environment and job factors that will help employees to contribute more. And secondly, help the employees find and use these factors to work harder.

To do this, it is integral that you know two variables: the employee’s needs and expectations from their work.

And because they are variables it makes motivating employees a challenge.

Company culture

Many years ago I worked for an American company. I got to hear that there was no ‘I’ in team and other mantras. At the same time they treated employees as a commodity, behaving as if you were the lucky one and you should be grateful they gave you a job. The managers enjoyed their power trips, instituting company policies on the basis that you can’t trust employees.

The thing that really annoyed me was when they came up with company rules. A few people were underperforming. So rather than deal with the few they made rules that affected everyone.

That killed my motivation, and I realised I wanted a workplace that fostered learning and development. A company where managers feel that motivating their teams will bring positive results for the business.

This post will provide tips to create a motivating work environment and offer a basic understanding of employee motivation. If you are curious how to increase your productivity you can find out here.

Every one is motivated

I said it earlier; everyone has something in their life that motivates them.

Every person has some items or issues about which they feel motivated to take action in their life. They may revolve around work, recreation, family, or even food.

You can’t motivate anyone else except you

You can’t do it for them. There is no magic potion that you can give that will motivate them. We have to accept that we can’t motivate another person.

What you can do is provide a work environment that supports employees choosing to become motivated about work issues.

Your actions as a leader either encourage or discourage motivated behaviour. Click To Tweet
Motivating employees is critical to business success.
“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.” – Bob Nelson

None of these actions and activities that provide a workplace environment that is supportive of motivating employees needs to be expensive.

In fact, some don’t cost anything.

Related Post: How To Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts

Who doesn’t like the flashy display of recognition from their company? I am happy for you to spend money on me, but the truth is that their impact on motivating employees is short term.

And their importance fades in comparison to how people feel treated every day in the workplace.

Value your people

Workplaces, that treat people as valued team members, score higher in motivation. Creating this environment involves commitment and time from the managers.

In a workplace that fosters employee motivation you find that trust, respect, listening and civil conversation prevail. You also find managers show genuine interest and caring in their team members.

Provide clear direction

The lack of clear direction is a demotivating factor for employees. Every team member wants to know what is expected of them.  And how they are performing against these expectations.

Without clear direction, they can’t be productive. Providing clear direction makes motivating employees easier because together you have created a framework for their expected performance.

Likewise, when you fail to provide prompt feedback to your people, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve.

It sounds easy, but it requires consistency. And some bosses just don’t care. They are punching a clock, and all of this stuff about motivating employees is rubbish. In these cases, people do what I did, and they actively look for a new employer.

My job that I told you about earlier, the money was excellent, and there wasn’t any one event that prompted me to leave. A lot of little things added up and I realised I did not want to work there any longer. In fact, I took a lower paying job just to get away.

People don’t leave a job for something better; they go because of a negative influence in their existing job. And that was it for me too.

What works for one person might not work for another

You have done your research and found out what motivates one of your team members. Only to apply the same factors to their colleague and you discover it is not motivating for them.

Employee motivation is a constant challenge. Research indicates happy employees are more productive. So logically, treat employees nicely and you will improve productivity. Not so simple, more is needed for a business to be successful.

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Who wouldn’t love a workplace of happy employees? Unfortunately, it doesn’t guarantee delighted customers, quality products delivered on time, or profitability.

And all three are essential to providing those happy employees with their wages. Factors such as critical feedback, demanding goals, and key performance indicators ensure the organisation’s success.

Ask employees what is motivating for them

Do you know what motivates your team? An effective leader actively solicits information from their team.

Employees know what demotivates them and what they find motivating. Chances are they will tell you if you ask. Giving you a hint: chances are, it’s not just money!

motivating employees in IT
“There are lots of lessons to learn from Amazon. Never stop innovating or questioning the fundamentals of your business. Continually motivate employees so that they never get too complacent – see Yahoo, AOL and many other Internet companies for evidence of what happens when they do.” – Brad Stone

For example, many people are motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise, or a sense of camaraderie.

When you ask be prepared to be tested. People judge people by what they do and by what they say. They key to being someone they trust is following through on the information you get.

When you ask, they will expect to see something changed as a result of their answer. If it is not changing then tell them why.

Walk the talk

Remember, your team is watching you all the time. How positive a role model are you for your team? That means I have to master my motivation if I want to influence theirs.

Related Post: Making A Great First Impression

To shape their behaviour, you must start with your own. Be consistent and chances are they’ll follow suit and set an example for other team members.

It is their choice to be motivated at work

Regardless of how supportive the company policies you institute are and how hard you try, there is a bottom line for motivating employees. It is their choice to be motivated at work.

You can know everything about motivation and do it all, but at the end of the day, employees are ultimately responsible for motivating themselves.

Motivating ourselves is such an important task to create success and live an outstanding life. I would love to find out what you do to motivate yourself and to help motivate others.

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David Brett-Williams