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5 Quick Tips for Motivating Others

Posted 5 years ago

The “carrot and stick” analogy that predominated 20th Century leadership lessons is now leading many to believe it’s an overly simple and potentially counterproductive approach. An invaluable lesson for any great 21st Century leader is to learn the keys for motivating others. The best leaders rely on the latest scientific tools to understand what motivates the members of their team. But in lieu of values-based assessments, expert Mark Sanborn reveals his universal 5 Tips for Motivating Others. Discover why motivating individuals – beyond the financial rewards of employment – is so important, and what steps we can take to consistently improve our understanding in this area of effective leadership.

5 Quick Tips for Motivating Others

by Mark Sanborn

Everyone is motivated. The big question is what are they motivated to do and why?

Few subjects are more often discussed and less understood by managers and leaders than workplace motivation. To get the right results with people, you need to understand the basics of motivation to use it effectively.

Here are five tips for motivating others:

1. Motivate different people differently.

My research shows that less than 15% of employees have ever been asked by management, “What motivates you?” Instead, most use common motivators (money and other rewards) or read a top 10 list that describes in rank order the most effective motivators.

While that is helpful, finding out what is important to those you lead is most effective. Try asking these questions:

What most motivates you at work?

What do you most like to do in your job?

What would you most like to learn?

Who do you most enjoy working with?

What is your greatest concern or fear?

Of course asking is not enough. You need to effectively use the information they provide.

2. Clarify outcomes

People cannot hit a target they cannot see. Unclear direction creates unclear, or worse, wrong results.

Often in our rush to get results, we do not do a good job of explaining the results we want, and vague instructions create vague results.

Clarify specifically what you expect: the what, the why, the how, the how well and the by when. It is not micromanaging to give people more and better information.

3. Explain the reason “why”?

People are motivated when they believe there is a worthwhile reason and not just a capricious request from management.

If the reasons are not clear, spend some time explaining the rationale, reasons and benefits of a successfully completed task. The better the reasons, the more likely a higher level of motivation.

4. Create an empowering environment.

In the initial book, A Great Place to Work, Robert Levering found that regardless of the type of company or location, a great place to work was where (paraphrased):

You trust who you work for.

You enjoy who you work with.

You take pride in your work.

Create that kind of a workplace and you will have an environment where your team is positively motivated.

5. Reward and recognize.

Recognition is verbal and rewards are tangible. They are both powerful motivators.

You cannot over-appreciate a team member unless you do it insincerely, and that is manipulation, not true appreciation.

Little things make big difference when it comes to rewards, from the familiar Starbucks gift card (for those who like coffee), to movie tickets, to a late start or an early end of the day.

And here is a bonus tip: be as motivated in your behavior as you would like those you lead to be.

There is much any leader could and should learn about motivating others, so I encourage you to become a student. But remember and use these tips for a quick start at getting better.

To learn more tips about improving motivation in the workplace,  check out this post by Beata Souders on Positive Psychology The Science of Improving Motivation at Work

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About the Author

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE  is an award-winning speaker and holds a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association (NSA). Impressively, Mark earned the distinction of being an inductee of the NSA Hall of Fame. He was recently honored with the Cavett Award, the highest honor the NSA bestows on its members, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the speaking profession. In 2019, Global Gurus named Mark the #5 Leadership Authority in the world.

Mark is also the author of the bestselling books, The Fred Factor: How Passion In Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary, and You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone Anywhere Can Make a Positive Difference. Would you like to spend the day honing your speaking abilities? Call 303-683-0714. To obtain additional information for growing yourself, your people and your business (including free articles), visit www.marksanborn.com.