Motivation In The Workplace | The Secret Every Leader Must Know

Motivation in the workplace is a topic that many leaders misunderstand. They are often asking the question "How do I motivate my staff?" While the question may not surprise you, our answer to the question just might change your entire outlook on the subject of motivating your team.

Motivation of employees is not the responsibility of the manager.  In fact, the person who is most directly responsible for being motivated is each and every employee. 

motivation in the workplace

How can we say this, you ask? Ask yourself why anyone should be solely accountable for motivating others who are formally educated, able-bodied adults? Shouldn't an employee be "self-motivated" if they expect a paycheck from youAnswer: ABSOLUTELY!

The trick to ensuring motivation in the workplace is to make sure that during the hiring process you acquire self-motivated people.

Impossible you wonder? - not at all. Remember, nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished with ease. As the team leader you must assess the level of motivation in the workplace, and the individual motivation of every employee. Do you feel that you have team members who are all contributing their fair share?

Perhaps an employee is the type to "lean back" rather than "lean in" and get engaged in what is going on in the organization? Remind employees who lack self-motivation that you are here to support them and to provide them with every opportunity to contribute and experience success.

"Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far."

- Gary Vaynerchuk

However, it's up to each employee to show up every morning proactively seeking out opportunities to add value and increase the bottom-line results of the organization

Effective motivation in the workplace is dependent upon the overall commitment of each team member. The concluding message to each team member must be to - Commit or Quit.

Most employees will rise to the challenge, but for those who do not, be prepared to support them by helping them find happiness elsewhere. 

"Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

- Lou Holtz

How Leader's Maintain Motivation In The Workplace

So now that you know it's the employee's responsibility to be self-motivated, you think you can relax because that monkey is now finally off your back. No longer are you accountable for motivation in the workplace, right? Not so fast.

While team leaders are not personally responsible for motivating employees, they are very much accountable for ensuring a workplace environment that is clean, safe and supportive. The workplace must provide an environment that not only supports employees, but also inspires self-motivated team members to increase their skill-set - to further develop and grow professionally.

Consider the following tips for leaders for maintaining motivation in the workplace:  

  • Hire Self-Motivated Employees - the number one responsibility of the leader is to attract, hire and retain highly productive self-motivated team members. If you're ever on the fence as to whether or not you should hire a candidate, don't do it. Trust your instincts. If you do decide to give the candidate a shot, make sure you let them know you are hiring them on a 30, 60 or 90 trial basis to see how they perform. This will allow you enough time to make a final decision. 
  • Communication - be available to your team members. Engage with them often and make sure they know that you are vested in their success and that you are available whenever they need direction or assistance. Make sure your team feels that you are approachable and that you have their best interests at heart. Develop a rapport with your team members and strengthen the relationship over time to ensure trust and loyalty. 
  • Teach / Coach / Expect - provide clear measures for success. Make sure your team has been properly trained for success. Clearly communicate goals that are realistic and achievable, yet will require the employee to stretch. Schedule formal coaching discussions weekly or monthly depending on the employees level of competency and historic performance. Praise areas of strengths and council areas that require improvement, making sure the employee understands the purpose of both discussions are to make them better and to further improve their skill-set. 
  • Recognize Achievement - offer words of praise for positive performance. Celebrate your employees when they achieve any type of milestone. Examples on what to recognize employees for might included sales production, service quality, completion of training, contributions to the team, taking on additional duties, covering for another team member when absent, stepping up unexpectedly, years of service, promotion, etc.  By taking every opportunity to recognize your team you will reinforce your commitment to the team's success, and in turn you will earn the trust and loyalty of the team members. 
  • Demonstrate Success - as the leader you need to set the tone and lead by example. Don't expect others to perform at a level higher than you do. Demonstrate what you expect by exhibiting those same types of traits and actions yourself. Great leaders walk the walk. Remain actively engaged in helping the team achieve the goals you have set for them. Even if you can't participate in the actual achievement of the goals, you can be the team's biggest cheerleader, remaining visibly engaged in the team's success. 

In conclusion, the leader's role is not to motivate any single employee. Employees are responsible for coming to work motivated each and every day. It is, however, the leader's responsibility to maintain motivation in the workplace by ensuring a healthy and productive work environment.

So, everyone has a critical part to play. Make sure you are spending your time on supporting and maintaining motivation in the workplace using the above tips, and not wasting time trying to motivate an employee who isn't willing to do their part. 

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