Almost every action we take in our life is driven by motivation. Consider what prompted you to enter the kitchen and prepare a sandwich. Hunger. What compelled you to get out of bed this morning and go to work? It was undoubtedly the urge to keep a roof over your head and food on the table at the most basic level.
Motivation is a very powerful force in our life, and it is a natural part of our being. We all require a “why” to motivate us.
This “why” is at the heart of every company idea that has ever been implemented, whether successfully or not. You may have endless amounts of self-motivation as a manager, but if that desire cannot be passed on to others around you, then nothing will be accomplished.
Project deadlines, long-term progress, and even day-to-day goals all rely on strong, motivating leadership.
Every leader’s toolset should include an understanding of the importance of team member motivation and how to go about fostering it. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to motivation; after all, human nature is unpredictable.
While leadership motivation might be difficult at times, the advantages can make the difference between a successful team and one that is floundering. Let’s look at the connection between leadership and motivation and how you can help your team members develop it.
The Why and What of Motivation
Motivation is a word that is tossed around a lot—motivation to lose weight, to accomplish more, and to do just about anything!
But what is motivation? Motivation is what drives people to success. Think about people who are motivated to lose weight—the more driven they are, the greater success they have.
Motivation plays a critical role in employee productivity, quality, and speed of work. Leaders are typically held accountable to motivate their team, which is quite challenging. In fact, it is difficult for leaders to motivate their employees because people are already motivated.
The question then is not whether someone is motivated, but why they are motivated and what they are motivated to do.
Here are two factors that are greatly affected when employees lack motivation.
Oftentimes leaders focus on extrinsic motivation, which means individuals are focused on an external incentive. This type of motivation occurs when a person is motivated to perform a behavior or activity in order to earn a reward or avoid a punishment. For example, if someone exceeds the sales quota, a bonus may be in store, but if the sales quota is missed by a significant amount, the result might be termination.
On the other hand, intrinsic motivation occurs when people are motivated to perform a behavior or activity because it is personally rewarding. They may engage in an activity for its own sake rather than a desire for some external reward. An example of this is employees who stay late to finalize a deliverable because they find the work fun and interesting. Intrinsic motivation is when individuals want to do something. Extrinsic motivation is when somebody else tries to make them do something.
Leaders today really need to make a mind shift change from focusing solely on extrinsic to creating an environment that is both intrinsically satisfying and extrinsically encouraging. Daniel Pink explains in his book, “Drive:
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” that “the secret to performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”
Essentially, the drive for success comes from within. This means that leaders must learn how to tap into why their employees are motivated and for what.
Below are four tactics leaders can use to ensure they are applying both types of motivation.
1. Motivated Members Make for a Stronger Team
At its most fundamental level, good leadership motivation enables a team or corporation to achieve its objectives. Nothing will be accomplished if no one is driven to complete the effort. It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that.
Disengaged employees can put a company in a dangerous position. On the other hand, employees that are driven and actively engaged in the work that their company does, on the other hand, make for a more productive corporation.
Assume you have a team of seven employees, each of whom is driven to achieve a particular goal. Imagine the same team with only two employees who are motivated and the other five who would rather squander their time surfing the web.
2. Better Communication Equates to More Success
Without a question, one of the most important aspects of great leadership that create motivation is communication. People have a natural want to be recognized, and learning how to connect successfully with your team members, both individually and collectively, will make all the difference.
According to a Gallup poll of 1,015 workers conducted in 2014, 46% of those polled stated they rarely or never leave a meeting knowing what they are expected to accomplish.
This figure should serve as a reminder to all leaders that they need to improve their communication with their employees.
How can a member of your team complete a task successfully if they have no idea what the assignment includes or why they’re doing it?
3. Projecting a Positive Attitude Is Paramount
Henry Ford said,
“Think you can or think you can’t. Either way, you are correct.”
Optimism is a leader’s most powerful weapon in combating employee pessimism, which may derail goals and kill motivation. It will be tough to motivate those around you if you are not motivated to become a great leader.
You’re not simply directing who does what as a leader; you’re also shaping people’s views about the work they do.
A cheerful attitude communicates the impression that you have faith in your team, from the emails you send to staff to how you behave yourself in the break room. That is a tremendously effective instrument for generating motivation.
4. Focus on Intrinsic Over Extrinsic Motivation
It’s all too easy for leaders to rely on extrinsic motivation, which means that individuals are motivated by the prospect of a reward or the threat of punishment. While creating a goal to meet a sales quota in order to earn a bonus or avoid getting fired can be motivating, it only taps into one sort of motivation.
When people are motivated to execute a behavior or activity because it brings them personal satisfaction, this is known as intrinsic motivation.
A 2013 study of nurses putting together surgical equipment is an excellent example of this.
Nurses who met the healthcare providers who would use their kits worked longer and made fewer mistakes than nurses who did not.
5. Make Individual Connections That Communicate the “Why”
The nurses, as seen in the example above, had a stronger connection to the “why” behind their task of preparing surgical kits. Although a text message can express this “why” to team members, it is not always the most effective method of motivating them.
Leaders grow and thrive when they get to know their team members and form strong bonds with them. Relationships motivate people, and when you know your team members by more than just their first names, you have a better chance of communicating the goal’s “why.” As a result, your staff is more likely to take pride in their work.
6. Praise Team Members and Build Motivation
There’s a reason your teacher gave you a gold star for answering all of the questions correctly on your homework. Positive reinforcement simply feels good, and people enjoy being acknowledged for a job well done.
Employees who receive praise from a manager are more motivated — and thus more productive — than those who do not receive praise, according to a Harvard Business School study.
People who are praised for “a job well done” are more driven to keep performing good work, which is surprising.
When a leader shows people around them that their effort is recognized and appreciated, those team members will be more inspired to take on the next task. Find out more about this motivator.
7. Hold People Accountable and Provide Feedback
A leader’s capacity to rectify mistakes or incorrect behaviors is just as vital as his or her ability to praise. When a leader ignores bad performance, it can set a harmful precedent and demotivate staff who were previously engaged.
When others on the team don’t pull their weight and a leader doesn’t step in to rectify it, people aren’t as inspired to produce good work.
While publicly applauding a team member can be a tremendous motivator for the entire team, privately disciplining an employee can help keep employee egos in check. You’ll be in a better position to motivate a team member if you provide comments to a team member in private.
8. Ask Questions Often and Work Towards Solutions
A motivational leader checks in with individuals around them on a frequent basis to see how they’re doing on the job. People need to know that their leaders care about their role on a team and that they may express problems or share ideas with them.
- Is your team member equipped with all they require?
- Are they being pushed to learn new skills or encouraged to do so?
- Is there a problem they notice that isn’t being addressed?
Don’t underestimate the power of real interest in an employee’s job in terms of motivating them. By frequently asking questions and listening to your staff, they will feel better prepared to take on additional duties and will have more respect for you.
9. Promote a Healthy Working Lifestyle
Workers who are healthy and happy are more productive and feel better about coming to work each day to complete their tasks. Employee burnout is a real issue, and if employees are consistently pushed to work longer hours with more responsibilities, their motivation will decrease, and resentment of the leadership will grow.
Of course, there are occasions when staying up late is a necessary aspect of the job. On the other hand, taking the proper actions can keep fatigued employees from throwing their arms up and exiting the building.
Healthy measures, such as offering healthy snacks or incorporating a stress-relieving exercise, can help keep a team motivated.
Effective leadership produces results, and a leader must grasp motivation’s role in the “why” in order to attain those results and set greater and better goals.
When a leader can effectively communicate this message to his or her staff while also serving as a role model and instructor, they will be surrounded by more motivated colleagues.
Leadership motivation is made up of a variety of components, each of which contributes to a team’s overall performance. It may begin with a leader’s own motivation, but it should extend to the entire team.