One of the most sought after skills from leaders is what they believe is motivation. ‘How do I motivate?’ ‘How can I get people to get excited about the work they do?’ Or, in some cases it’s sadly more simplistic…’How do I just get people to want to work?’ I hate to be a buzzkill….but you cannot make someone motivated. Motivation comes from within. But, here’s the good news leaders… you can inspire and influence people which becomes like food and fuel to their self-motivation.
So, when a leader asks, “How can I be a better motivator?” – I usually respond with “What reasons are you giving people to be self-motivated and engaged?” and then we talk about the big three: listen to me, value me, include me.
- Listen to Me. Sometimes leaders have a fear of allowing people to voice their opinion because of the proverbial ‘can of worms’ it can open. But, great leaders know how to create cultures of engaged employees that welcome ideas and opinions for the good of the cause. Often times, the employee is not looking for a drastic change, but just wants their voice to be heard as part of a team.
- Value Me. Employee surveys consistently show that people stick with companies and bosses longer when they feel valued. Getting paid a fair wage is only the beginning. There’s a whole lot of good you can do under this category of valuing others. If the people that report directly to you were asked, “Do you feel valued by your supervisor?” – how would they respond? When is the last time the people under you received a “thank you” – and not via email or text; but a genuine eyeball-to-eyeball “I really appreciate you”.
- Include Me. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. When they are invited and allowed to get involved in decisionmaking, they are more likely to take pride and ownership. When decisions go from the board room to the front-line with no inclusion or input from the people that will be carrying out the work; don’t expect high levels of motivation. A “just do it” leadership mantra will get you very little in terms of true followers.
Listen. Value. Include.