I am commonly asked about motivation. Something that I have discovered over the years is what I believe really motivates people. The ingredients are quite simple, and something everyone can do.
First ingredient: it is important that your team members have a Purpose, a Goal, a Meaning. Why do they do the work they do? You need to define it. I.E. ‘We are here to ensure that the frontline nursing team give the best care they can, and to ensure they save the most lives as possible’. I know it is not always easy to define this, but if you can, it can motivate people forward.
Second ingredient: which is easier is Feedback. Giving feedback, good or bad is important. People want to know that you care and that they do matter. They want to know how they are doing at work. They want to know that you as their boss shows interest in them. Feedback done well, is a massive motivator.
Third ingredient: Choice. Give people small choices in their work. Let them choose how to do a task, or what time to take a break, or how to arrange their desk. It is choice that gives us individualism and self-respect, so giving small choices increases motivation. Now, I don’t mean let them choose if they want to come to work or not!
Fourth ingredient: Challenge. Ever played a computer game, team sport etc. It is the challenge of beating your best score or winning against another team. So think about how you can build challenge into the workplace. This is not all about giving people lots of tasks or setting KPI’s. It is about knowing them first and discovering what would be a suitable challenge for them. Perhaps they want to develop themselves, or work on another project etc. For a leader, the challenges you set, you must believe that this person will achieve it. No point in setting the challenge too easy, or too hard.
Fifth ingredient: Rewards. Sometimes a small reward that is unique and personal is a great motivator. Say for example, you are at a book sale, and you notice a fishing book at 1 dollar. You buy it for one of your team, who you know loves fishing. You give it to him or her the following week when they have done something good, or they need a pick-me-up. Now, they may already have this book, but the fact that you thought about them personally is the motivator in this case. Try it! It works.
There, you have all the ingredients now. Give it a go! You might surprise yourself.