The question I’m most often asked by managers is “How do I motivate my team?” Keeping a team focused and moving towards a goal, is a pivitol part of having a successful team and business, it’s no wonder managers are eager to know how they can master the art of motivation. The answer is in the word itself, with the word motivation coming from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move.
First, it’s important to understand that people motivate themselves. They make conscious and unconscious choices to want to do things and achieve a goal. Therefore, the best way to encourage people to be motivated, is to create a motivational environment.
There are many things a manager can do to create this type of atmosphere. One aspect is ensuring people feel valued through encouraging team members to provide input and contribute. People also feel valued if they are recognised for their efforts. This may be through a simple thank you and/or compliment or a more formal means of recognition where relevant.
This is where it’s important to be aware that people are motivated by different things. This is very much the case when it comes to recognition. For example, some people revel in being publically recognised and made a big deal over, where as someone else would be demotivated by this approach and prefer a quiet pat on the back.
A common way of motivating people is through monetary remuneration. Bonuses and incentives have long been a means of keeping people working to achieve goals however, not everyone is money driven. Some people prefer additional responsibility and will take on additional tasks without any monetary compensation, simply because the autonomy and trust placed in them is motivation in itself.
Many people are motivated by the opportunity for self-development through training and opportunity. When people feel as if they are growing and improving, they are more inclined to be motivated.
Understanding what demotivates people is also important. Practices such as micromanaging can have a detrimental effect on the motivation of a team. People don’t want to feel they are being watched constantly, with little room to move and their creativity and personality stifled.
Overloading people with unrealistic workloads can also destroy morale and motivation, as can underloading. When people don’t have tasks that keep them moving, challenged and interested, motivation levels can take a hit.
While there is a long list of factors that lead to motivation or demotivation, the key is undoubtedly clear. A manager or leader must be ever mindful of the environment or atmosphere they are creating and making it one in which team members make a conscious choice to want to be motivated.