Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

How To Motivate Your Team: Get The Results You Require

Innovation, target achievement, quality improvement, cost reduction, speed of execution, customer satisfaction – no matter which of these we desire, ultimately our team members are the people to deliver the results. People judge our companies through us – the people they meet. Uninterested, de-motivated, dis-engaged team members are brand assassins. They are murdering our brand build efforts every time they interact on behalf of the organization.

Every touch point with the client is a "moment of truth" as to whether our brand is strengthened or diminished. Those touch points have a human element that is susceptible to emotion. How our people feel about the company gets immediately, directly transferred to the outside world – there is no safety net! How does your team really feel about your organization? How do they feel about their immediate supervisor? How do they feel about you?

We found some scary things through our original global research on Engagement. Surprisingly, there was a low correlation between high levels of satisfaction with the immediate boss and engagement levels. We would all be happy to hear the team were "very satisfied" working for us. We might become so confident as to believe that they were therefore "highly engaged". Discovering that being "very satisfied" doesn’t mean the team is "highly engaged" is a bit of a shock. The survey found that of those "very satisfied", only 51% said they were "engaged". Uh oh!

The survey found that there are 3 Drivers in operation fuelling positive motivation:

(1) the relationship with the immediate supervisor
We all know people leave people, not companies! People skills for leaders really matters.

(2) belief in senior leadership and the direction they are taking the company
Do the people at the bottom trust the competence of the people at the top to correctly steer the ship? Do they believe that their foreign managers understand Japan, the market, the customers well enough to be making the right calls?

(3) the final driver is pride in the organization
Will the team speak positively about the company to family and friends. Do they recommend or whine? Do they identify with the values of the organization?

Done well, these three drivers boost commitment to the enterprise. The absolute trigger point is the degree of feeling valued by the organization. If that feeling of being valued is strong, then the staff become highly motivated. They are inspired to work hard, are confident to step out of their Comfort Zones, feel empowered to innovate and are enthusiastic to win in the marketplace.

However, why would they feel valued? Who makes them feel valued? In the same way that we isolate the critical touch points for the client interaction, we can do the same thing for our leadership interactions with our team.

Hard skills are highly regarded but the soft skills are the keys to getting the team engaged and motivated. Leaders’ communication abilities are make or break opportunities to get this right. "Hard skills are enough" thinking misses the mark. Often, the technical skills are what have driven the talent up through the ranks and now they find these same skills are not cutting it with their team. They fire off a barrage of orders, mishandle mistakes, fail to delegate, criticize, condemn and complain, whining "I want a recount on the scores" in the engagement survey. They are murdering motivation among the team.

Here are some steps to fire up engagement.

Clarify Your Intention
Stop treating people like assets and build trust instead. Are you really interested in helping them in their careers? The engagement study found that employees want to know their boss cares about them. Actions definitely speak louder than words, so demonstrate you do care.

Praise and Recognition
Telling team members, "Good Job!" is better than no praise at all, but is a very weak excuse for giving people meaningful recognition. Be specific - indicate what was good, how this impacts the organization and encourage them to keep doing it.

Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests
We all motivate ourselves based on our perception of relevancy to our interests. Bosses droning on about what they or what the organization wants, fail the communication test. If we know our people and if we know what they want, we can dramatically increase that relevancy perception.

"Hard skills are enough" leaders don’t get it, don’t know their people and usually just don’t care. This leads to a downward spiral of low engagement, low morale and low motivation. Not a great formula for positive differentiation in business. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Care, recognise and be relevant!
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