Norb Slowikowski / May 2015
Let’s be honest: It’s not always easy to come to work ready to do your best work. Sometimes we need to find that extra gear that gets us to ultimate productivity. One way to make everyone’s job a lot easier is to establish the right conditions so that people are ready to get to that next level. In short, we must supply people with motivation by putting them in a place to succeed. To be clear, motivation is not what managers do for people, it’s what people do for themselves. Employees do their best work when they get what they need and know how to effectively deal with challenges.
So, in order to set up the best motivational climate in your workplace, a process needs to be followed. By using a step-by-step process that adheres to the tenets of motivation, we set our team up for success. What follows are the four main keys to providing effective motivation.
Implement a Feedback System
Encourage feedback from your people and provide them with feedback. If people have difficulty doing their job and you don’t receive or provide feedback, you can’t fix the problem. Communication is always at a premium. If we don’t know how to communicate with different personality types, we won’t know how to motivate those personality types. Some keys to communication include the following:
Use listening and feedback skills to build high performance work relationships. Don’t just talk at people all the time. Incorporate people’s thoughts into your process.
Develop awareness of your personal communication style. How do you best communicate with others? How will they best receive that information? Match your style with the styles of others.
Handle difficult situations with diplomacy, tact and credibility. As the saying goes, “Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.” People respect someone who maintains control in the midst of chaos. This, in turn, creates motivation.
Learn to create a viable alternative to group conflict. Communication is often about becoming a problem-solver. Sometimes the most effective feedback is just providing solutions for people.
Conflict occurs when two or more parties discover that what they want is incompatible with the other. This creates unresolved controversy due to differences in perceptions about expectations, both upward and downward. A lack of resources required to do an effective job may also create conflict, as will confusion about key job responsibilities and role demands. Personality differences and what’s going on in each other’s world also contribute.
It is difficult to eliminate conflict because we’re not always sure when it’s going to occur. However, we can learn how to manage it by identifying what each person wants and then find ways to satisfy those wants through collaboration and compromise.
Provide Effective Coaching
Coaching is eye-to-eye communication between two people to build positive relationships, mutually solve problems and improve performance. A manager or supervisor’s job is to help employees improve their performance, not criticize them. Coaching cannot occur unless both parties trust each other, and this requires being clear about what’s expected and displaying integrity. Your actions must match your words. There’s nothing people dislike more than a hypocrite, so make sure you do what you say you will do. Also, display a genuine concern for people’s growth and development. Help them improve. Finally, be a coach, not a critic. Telling people what they did wrong is only half the battle. You must also help them to not repeat it.
Display Effective Leadership
It is the leader’s responsibility to establish a positive work climate so that people like coming to work every day and doing their best work. Effective leadership requires treating people with respect and valuing the employee’s contribution to the success of the company. It means involving employees in decision-making, treating employees fairly by measuring performance against standards, and by providing positive reinforcement when people perform good work. And finally, the leader should hold people accountable for desired results.
So there you have it. Motivation is not just about giving big speeches or reciting positive affirmations. There’s a real method to inspiration. True leaders and managers get the most out of their people by facilitating for success, not by barking orders. By going through these four steps to establishing the right climate, you can provide your people with the resources they need to get results. And getting results makes it a lot easier to come to work.
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill. See his ad on page 46.