Latest "Motivating Employees" Posts
“How can I motivate my people?”
I get asked that question a lot in my consulting business. And often times I fear the implication is, “How can I manipulate my people?” When people ask about motivation I often have the sense they are secretly talking about manipulation — getting their employees to do what they want, perhaps even against their will.
Lately I’ve been intrigued by research into the two halves of the human brain and how each side impacts leadership and motivation.
The question, “How to motivate employees wanting something you don’t have?” was asked during our recent Leaders Ought to Know® webinar, “Using Performance Appraisals to Increase Employee Engagement and Reduce Frustration.” We didn’t have time to answer during the webinar — we would like to have known more from Mike, the questioner, about his specific situation — but it’s a valid question that many managers wish they could get answered. Here are some options to consider.
Managers, supervisors — leaders of all kinds worry over the same question: Why do my employees do what they do? Day after frustrating day, we grapple with different versions of the “why” question:
- Why don’t they listen?
- Why do they insist on doing it the hard way?
- Why won’t they apply themselves?
- Why don’t they ask questions?
- Why do they resist help from others?
Wondering why employees do what they do can drive even the best leaders to scratch their heads in confusion. But here’s a bit of good news: there is a definitive answer to that mind-numbing “why” question.
When I ask leaders, “what one skill do you want to know most?” the often repeated response is this: “Teach me how to motivate my followers.” That’s where things get tricky.
Certainly there are motivational truths that leaders can learn and apply successfully. In fact, I’ve dedicated an entire chapter to those motivational truths in my new book, Leaders Ought To Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership. But being able to show a person how to motivate their employees is just not that easy. Everyone from the renown psychologist Abraham Maslow, to internationally known motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, have weighed in on what motivation is and how it can best be nurtured in the lives and work of our employees, our family members—even ourselves.
Motivation versus Manipulation
Some managers and supervisors mistakenly believe that if they get their followers to do what they want—regardless the means or methods used—their followers will be forever motivated.