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The Secret to Motivating People

By Michael Arnot, 27 May 2015

The Secret to Motivating People

By Shay McConnon - See more of Shay HERE

Organisations can suffer the following:

  • Absenteeism
  • High staff turnover
  • Poor time keeping
  • Poor quality work
  • Low productivity
  • Complaints
  • Conflict
  • Resistance

These are typical symptoms of de-motivated people. What can you do? What has created this situation? Is it inevitable? Does the problem lie with staff or management or is it more complicated than this?

The secret to motivating your people is not written in this article, it is not in seminars books or DVDs. It is locked away in your people, in their values, beliefs and needs. Each of us has a unique set of motivational drivers and unless the job is aligned with these, it will be difficult for us to feel motivated.

How do you get people to want to do what you need them to do?
The answer lies in appealing to a person's self-interest. If it is not in their interest people are not likely to want to do it, or they certainly won't continue to do it.

To access this information, you need to talk to your people, get to understand their motivational criteria and then connect with these needs and values.

We are dramatically different
The single biggest mistake managers make is to assume that people are like them, have similar needs, values and would like to be treated as they would. People are dramatically different, so different it is as if we are from different planets. What will motivate one person will demotivate another.

To get people to do a worthwhile job, you have to give people a worthwhile job to do. A worthwhile job will embody an individual's core values (self-interest). There is likely to be little job satisfaction for a carer doing detailed research, writing papers from home and no contact with work colleagues.

By ensuring people have a worthwhile job the leader improves motivation and reduces the need for supervision. Comments like ,“Well it is a job - it pays the mortgage," indicate there is a lack of worth to be found in that job i.e. the job is not aligned with the person's core values and hence it is not in their interest.

Lack of Alignment
When the job is not aligned with a person's values, it will be difficult for the person to be energised, enthused or motivated. These are the people who need supervision and respond to the carrot or the stick. Carrot and stick provide movement or temporary 'motivation'. Remove the carrot and stick and people come to a standstill. Motivation is intrinsic, it happens when the job is aligned with a person's values.

The tail wag factor!
Money buys a dog but it is love (and food!) that makes it wag its tail. You might have high quality people in your team but you may not be getting high quality performances. If people are not being motivated according to their criteria, you will not get the level of performance they are capable of. You may not be able to make your average people great, but a lack of motivation will make your great people average.

Each of us has a unique set of motivational criteria. Many people fall into the self-reference trap i.e. what motivates me will motivate another. Lasting motivation is intrinsic, it happens when the job is aligned with personal values Improve motivation by being proactive in discovering and meeting your colleagues motivational drivers.