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The Robcan Group
31 Meridian Road
Sherwood Park, Alberta
By: Brenda Robinson
It is easy to have expectations of our staff. The challenge is motivating our staff to meet those expectations. We often hear people say that their staff lacks motivation or that they are not as motivated as they would like them to be. What does this mean? What can we do to change this perception? Or, is it the reality of the new workplace?
As a manager, I choose to believe that we can indeed impact the motivation level of our staff. However, there is no proven recipe or formula for motivating people. Motivation is often an individual challenge
It requires different strategies to address individual differences. What are some workable strategies that managers can use?
Set concrete achievable goals and communicate the expectations and outcomes in a clear way. Staff need to know what is expected and what the results will look like. Try to avoid falling into the “They should know” assumption. They will know when communication is clear and concrete.
Measure success in progress as well as results. Waiting for final results always had an element of fear and trepidation. Knowing that we are on the way or how far we’ve come makes the trip less daunting! Provide interim or staged feedback to maintain motivation for the outcomes.
Get rid of the old “Oreo Cookie” formula. This was our approach of positive/negative/positive feedback. This formula is now easily recognized as not effective. Staff in today’s workplace are more likely to accept negative feedback when it is delivered after building a bank of positive feedback. Indeed, the formula now suggests four positive pieces of feedback will motivate people to accept correction or criticism in a better way. Put directly, staff are more motivated to correct, improve and make changes when the information is balanced by recognition of positive actions and outcomes.
Engage, involve and include your staff in planning and developing new ideas and new approaches. Everyone is more invested in success when they have established the criteria. Discussion is much more motivational than direction.
Motivate with positive language and a positive approach. Our people are much more motivated by:
“What can be done vs. what can’t be done.”
“What’s next instead of what’s past.”
“What will work vs. what won’t work.”
Staff are far more interested and motivated by solutions than they are by problems. Focusing on what will work or what we can try is more motivating than focusing on problems, barriers and challenges.
Encourage a work environment that is collaborative. Being part of a team is motivating, especially when the team is supportive. Plan some team building activities and events to motivate your staff to contribute to the team as well as the work that needs to be done.
Demonstrate interest in getting to know your staff. Show interest in “who they are” as well as “what they do.” Meet, greet and converse with the team members. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Being connected motivates people to do their share and more.
People are the greatest motivators of people.
Recognize efforts and provide complimentary feedback. The old saying is still true. “Praise in public – criticize in private.” Give compliments to your staff in the presence of customers and other staff members. Let them know you value their efforts enough to share it with others.
Have some fun at work. People seldom say, “I want a job there because they never have any fun!” People seek work that is enjoyable. All of us are motivated to do our best when we enjoy what we do, enjoy the people we work with and the people we work for. Laughter and productivity go hand in hand. Laughter motivates!
Which of these strategies can you apply? Try any or all of them. You will see the difference. Besides, it is motivational to work with motivated people. Motivation is contagious – catch it and share it with others.
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