If you are looking for books to read on leadership, don’t hesitate to pick up anything written by John Maxwell. His ability to communicate about leadership is excellent. His books cover the gamut of leader training. I have been re-reading his book “Developing The Leader Within You” and came across a great piece on motivation.
WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE?
SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS. People want to join in a group or pursue a cause that will have lasting impact. They need to see that what they are doing is not wasted effort, but is making a contribution. People must see value in what they are doing. Motivation comes not by activity alone, but by the desire to reach the end result.
GOAL PARTICIPATION. People support what they create. Being part of the goal-setting process is motivating and it allows people to feel needed. They like to feel they are making a difference. When people have given input, they have a stake in the issue. They own it and support it. Seeing goals become reality and helping to shape the future is fulfilling. Goal participation builds team spirit, enhances morale, and helps everyone feel important.
POSITIVE DISSATISFACTION. Someone said that dissatisfaction is the one word definition for motivation. Dissatisfied people are highly motivated people, for they see the need for immediate change. They know something is wrong and often know what needs to be done. Dissatisfaction can inspire change or it can lead to a critical spirit. It can lead to apathy or stir one to action. The key is harnessing this energy towards effective change.
RECOGNITION. People want to be noticed. They want credit for personal achievements and appreciation for their contributions. Often giving recognition is another way of saying thanks. Personal accomplishment is motivating, but it is much more so when someone notices the accomplishment and gives worth to it. Recognition is one way to give meaning to a person’s existence.
CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. People are motivated when they know exactly what they are to do and have the confidence that they can do it successfully. No one wants to jump into a task that is vague or a job whose description is uncertain. Motivation rises in a job when the goals, expectations, and responsibilities are clearly understood. When delegating responsibility, be sure to give the necessary authority to carry out the task. People perform better when they have some control over their work.
WHAT DE-MOTIVATES PEOPLE?
DON’T BELITTLE ANYONE. Public criticism and cutting conversations, even in jest, can hurt. We must be alert and sensitive. Taken to the extreme, belittling can destroy a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence. If you have to give criticism, remember that it take nine positive comments to balance one negative correction.
DON’T MANIPULATE ANYONE. No one likes to feel maneuvered or used. Manipulation, no matter how slight, tears down the walls of trust in a relationship. We gain more by being honest and transparent than we do by being cunning and crafty. Build people up through affirmation and praise, and they’ll be motivated and loyal. Remember, give and it shall be given to you.
DON’T BE INSENSITIVE. Make people your priority. People are our greatest resources; therefore, take time to know and care about them. This means being responsive in conversation, never appearing preoccupied with self or in a hurry. Stop talking and develop the art of really listening. Your interest in even insignificant matters will demonstrate your sensitivity.
DON’T DISCOURAGE PERSONAL GROWTH. Growth is motivating, so encourage your staff to stretch. Give them opportunities to try new things and acquire new skills. We should not feel threatened by the achievements of others, but should be very supportive of their successes. Allow your staff to succeed and fail. Build the team spirit approach that says, “If you grow, we all benefit.”