Motivating Others

Being able to motivate others is a key leadership skill. Without it you are reliant on the whims of the worlds of all your people. All over the world people struggle with the idea of motivation. Negative information, what is going on in the world, problems, self-limited beliefs - all these hold people back and impact you and your business success. By the end of this masterclass you will have a greater understanding of the concept of motivation, you will be aware of what it takes for you to stay motivated & excited about what you can achieve and you will feel more in control of the actions you can take to ensure you’re motivating yourself, your team and others in your life.

Motivating Others

Welcome

Today we are going to talk about motivation. If you study very successful people you’ll quickly learn they have figured out motivation. It is something real to them. An asset as important as knowledge, skill, or circumstance - something they trust and rely on.

But how do you motivate someone else to work harder? How do you motivate people to be more efficient, more effective? How do you motivate without just giving people more money - a short lived incentive - so that they are in action all the time?

All over the world people struggle with the idea of motivation. Negative information, what is going on in the world, problems, self-limited beliefs - all these hold people back and impact you and your business success.

By the end of this masterclass you will have a greater understanding of the concept of motivation, you will be aware of what it takes for you to stay motivated & excited about what you can achieve and you will feel more in control of the actions you can take to ensure you’re motivating yourself, your team and others in your life.

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

In this video we’re going to talk about The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Daniel Pink wrote a book of the same name. By the end of this lesson you will have a greater understanding of what motivation actually is, you will be more aware of what science says about motivation and you will feel as though you are more in control of your own motivation. So before we go any further let’s define motivation. What are your thoughts on a definition? Pause the video and have a think now.

Motivation is: A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. A general desire, need or want that generates the energy required for someone to behave in a particular way. This means that there’s actually a motive behind the action, which is really an impulse that will trigger the motivational cognitive process which will lead an individual, or an animal for that matter, to act on that impulse. 

I’m sure you got something like that, something along those lines. We motivate ourselves to do things every day and we really feel it when we’re lacking motivation, don’t we? So on a personal level we recognise what motivation is and isn’t all the time. It’s also very clear in others’ behaviour. We might comment about how motivated or unmotivated someone is. It might even be a way that we describe their character. It’s a defining feature.

But let’s talk about some basic facts about motivation now. Have a think about some basic things you can say about motivation, pause the video and do it now.

Okay so we have come up with the following basic facts about motivation:

I’m sure you came up with some others but let’s explore those facts we came up with more closely now.

Why are some people more motivated to succeed than others?

One main factor is they have a clear understanding of what actually motivates them; they have clear goals that aligned with their purpose and vision; and when they’re demotivated they quickly get back at it. They take action and understand life is about risk; they are ok with failure and learn from it; they just start; AND importantly they seek inspiration from others.

There are days when we feel totally motivated and we feel like we can achieve all the goals that we have set. But there are also days when we feel a total slump, we have no motivation at all, and we just want to lie on the couch and binge watch our favourite boxset.

Don’t worry if you have had days like these. It is perfectly normal. Even the most productive and successful people in the world have down times and days when they don’t feel motivated to do anything at all.

The difference is that the highly successful will never let themselves stay down for a very long time. They know how to handle their downtime and soon enough, they get back up, feeling motivated to take on the world again.

When you’re motivated it feels great. Like I said earlier we feel as though we can achieve anything, and if we could just carry on like we do when we feel motivated we’re probably right! But a lack of motivation sometimes creeps in, it might be on the back of a setback, or because you’re tired or ill, but a lack of motivation feels dreary and woeful. When you feel demotivated you often can’t even imagine how it feels when you’re motivated. That’s why it can feel so tough to pick yourself up again.

Motivation takes effort and sometimes takes willpower, which is why it can be difficult to sustain for a long period. If you’re using willpower to keep going then willpower quickly depletes. Habits are key to sustaining motivation so that keeping it up is not a matter of effort but a matter of habit, of what your brain and your body are used to.

In terms of being in charge of our motivation, it’s a shame but no one else can motivate you really, you have to take responsibility yourself. Often when we’re down we know that watching a particular video, or listening to a podcast, or song, or reading a certain book would sort us out, but we don’t want to be sorted out just yet. We want to do a little more wallowing in our own sad place. Or a little more lazing about, or a little more chocolate eating. And that’s okay as long as it doesn’t go on long.

Another fact was that motivation is contagious. And it is. If you can get yourself to somewhere where motivated people are, you’ll be back on track in no time. That’s why watching a video, or listening to a podcast, or song, or reading a certain book sorts us out. When I don’t want to work out, I know that all I have to do is get myself to the Crossfit gym and then the motivation is taken care of by the community there and the atmosphere. It’s specifically why I joined Crossfit. Because if I am left to my own devices in a gym my motivation doesn’t last long enough to get me in the shape I want to be in. I need the motivation of others to keep me going long enough to see results. But I still have to get myself there, and that’s where habit comes in.

We all know the statement 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink’? Other people can’t do it for you, your friend can’t do it for you, your boss can’t do it for you, it is ultimately up to you. The only thing we can do as friends/leaders is foster, nurture and support the environment that increases our motivation and that of others. So before we can motivate others we must motivate ourselves.

Right, I have talked long enough now, what I want you to do now is think of a situation in which you felt motivated to do your very best. Can you identify any aspects of that situation that inspired and supported your motivation?

Okay so next question for you now. Why do you work? What rewards inspire you the most? List some of the factors that help you increase your motivation.

We spend a good portion of our lives in the workplace and it is more than likely the reason you are here today. Should it be the only thing that defines us, of course not, but it will have a major impact on our motivation levels in life as well as the work place. So why do you work, list all of the factors, then think about what rewards motivate you the most, and then think of what things help you increase your motivation. Pause the video and have a think now.

It’s always good to be aware of our weaknesses too and any upcoming hurdles we may face, so have a think now about What some of the things are that de-motivate you? Pause the video and have a think now.

Being demotivated is arguably one of the worst feelings in the world. You feel as though you have no direction and, despite the fact that you are not getting any enjoyment out of getting nowhere, you feel no urgency or drive to make the effort to change your situation.

Most people say things like this demotivate them:

I’m sure there are many more but that’s just a few examples in case you were struggling.

Thinking about what demotivates us allows to avoid that if we can, or perhaps develop strategies so we can eradicate it from our lives. It also allows us to create strategies that we can enact when we encounter anything that demotivates us. Aristotle said that knowing ourselves was the beginning of all wisdom. Get to know what demotivates you so you can act quickly to re-motivate yourself when required.

Our final fact about motivation was that there are different types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic.

In his book, Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink argues that businesses haven’t caught up to this new understanding of what motivates us and from extensive psychological research, there is still a disconnect between what science has proven and the actions organisations take.

Pink argues there are actually three drives, deduced from psychological experimentation, that motivate animal/human behaviour. These are:

  1. Biological-hunger, thirst and copulation (Motivation 1.0) Basic survival needs. We won’t be talking too much about these in this masterclass though.
  2. Extrinsic reward. External reward and punishment delivered by the environment for behaving in certain ways (Motivation 2.0) Carrots and Sticks.
  3. Intrinsic reward. The joy/satisfaction of completing a task, or being good at a task, motivates its completion. (Motivation 3.0)

In practice, the second motivation has been applied in human organisations for centuries, based on the idea that “the way to improve performance, increase productivity, and encourage excellence is to reward the good and punish the bad”. So, extrinsic motivation can be in pursuit of a reward such as money, or goods, or even kindness sadly, as well as the avoidance of punishment, or bad things, and in effect they are two sides of the same coin: money/no money, goods/no goods, kindness/no kindness. Modern psychological experimentation and examination of human productivity has found that utilising this source of motivation, extrinsic motivation, is useful for unrelenting, routine, mechanical or boring tasks, but it is not as useful when creativity, maximisation of performance, quality and commitment are desired. So that’s extrinsic motivation, but

There’s internal motivation too, to which there are three elements:

The first is Autonomy and that’s the degree to which people are allowed to direct their own work. People work better when they are given an adequate degree of autonomy over the task (what they do), the time (when they do it), team (who they do it with) and technique (how they do it).

Our “default setting” is to be autonomous and self-directed. Companies that offer autonomy, sometimes in radical doses, generally outperform their competitors.

An example of this that’s taken off hugely is flexible/agile working, in terms of both time and place. It’s bringing benefits for both business and employees; engagement based on choice; commitment; loyalty; best practice; innovation; collaboration; inclusion. Look at the rise of entrepreneurship - The Founder Generation. The UK start-up revolution shows no sign of ending. Most people when they start their own business are seeking the ultimate reward of complete autonomy, whether that pans out or not is another thing, but that’s what most people want when they start working for themselves - the intrinsic message is right there isn’t it - working for themselves, not for anything, or anyone extrinsic to them.

The second element of intrinsic motivation is Mastery: becoming better at something that matters to you. Making progress in one’s work turns out to be the single most motivating aspect for many people. It is the capacity to see your abilities not as finite but as infinitely improvable.

While Motivation level 2.0 requires compliance, Motivation level 3.0 demands engagement: a huge buzz word in leadership at the moment. Only engagement can produce mastery, that is becoming better at something that matters. And the pursuit of mastery, an important but often dormant part of our intrinsic drive, has become essential to making one’s way in the economy. Mastery begins with “flow”—optimal experiences when the challenges we face are exquisitely matched to our abilities. Smart workplaces therefore supplement day-to-day activities with “Goldilocks tasks”—not too hard and not too easy. But mastery also abides by three peculiar rules. Mastery is a mindset: It requires the capacity to see your abilities not as finite, but as infinitely improvable. Mastery is a pain: it demands effort, grit, and deliberate practice. And mastery is an asymptote: which means that it’s impossible ever to fully realise, which makes it simultaneously frustrating and alluring. We see this everyday on our leadership programmes.

Relatively recently I was talking with someone about contentment. I said I was very content and they picked me up on it by saying, I’m not sure that’s true, you are always striving to be better and do more. And I am, so I thought about it a bit and then realised that constantly striving to be better and do more is part of my contentment. If, for some reason, I was no longer allowed to strive to be better that would impact my level of contentment, so in a way in order to be content I must simultaneously be slightly discontent.

The third element in intrinsic motivation is Purpose. Purpose is important as people, by their nature, tend to seek to make a contribution and to be part of a cause greater and more enduring than themselves. Within modern organisations, “purpose motivation” is expressed in goals that use profit to reach purpose: in words that emphasise more than self-interest and in policies that allow people to pursue purpose on their own terms.

Think now about yourself again. about what motivates and demotivates you; the three drives that motivate you - biological, extrinsic and intrinsic and the three elements of internal motivation - autonomy, mastery and purpose, and answer the next few questions.

Take your time to answer the following questions:

10 Questions to Increase Your or Others’ Motivation

In this video we’re going to ask 10 Questions that you can ask of yourself whenever you are feeling demotivated as well as to increase your understanding of your own motivation. By the end of this lesson you will have a greater understanding of what you desire, you will be able to identify what it is that’s holding you back from achieving that and you will feel more motivated to overcome hurdles and pursue your goals.

So, onto the questions then. The first one is: What are any recent accomplishments that make you feel proud and successful? The reason we ask this is to get you to think about how feeling proud and successful feels. The problem with people is that we often forget the really positive feelings too quickly by allowing ourselves to get brought back into negativity or feeling hum drum. If we actively choose to remember the positive feelings in life, especially those created by our own efforts then that gives us a lift. We remember and focus on what went well rather than what didn’t and that enables us to recreate that feeling more often. We often find this difficult to do so I want you to email or ask 3 people what recent accomplishments you should be proud of as well as pausing the video and having a think and ask yourself: What are any recent accomplishments that make you feel proud and successful?

The second question is What are your goals? Goals make you feel more motivated. Just having a goal isn’t enough, of course, you must take steps to achieve it. But having a goal in the first place at least gives you a direction. If you don’t know where you want to go any road will get you there. So not having goals can make you directionless. Watch our Achieving you Goals lessons for the full system but here start by just creating one fairly small goal, like 'finish a report’ or ‘speak to Bob about a certain project’ or ‘delegate X to Sarah’ or ‘run a mile’ or ‘run half a mile’. So, pause the video, have a think and ask yourself: What is a goal of mine?

The third question gets you poised for action. As I said earlier If you don’t know where you want to go any road will get you there. But if you have a goal then you know which direction to start off in. So the next question is What is one step I can take right now to move closer to my goal? That’s it. That’s how you become one of those people who sets goals and achieves them. By doing something that will move you closer to your goal one step at a time. So, pause the video, have a think and ask yourself: What is one step I can take right now to move closer to my goal?

Now the thing with this is that we often let ourselves off the hook. What I want you to do to prevent that is to commit to doing what the person closest to you in the environment says you should do as your next step, so if that’s work it’s a colleague, if it’s home it might be your partner or a friend. So I’d like you to ask them right now, whether that’s on email or is person, text or whatever. Tell them your goal and ask them what they think you should do as the next most important step. Then make sure you do it and report back to them that you have done it.

Every time you have completed this one step, you just ask yourself, or others, that question again. What is one step I can take right now to move closer to my goal? And hey presto, your goal gets closer and closer. So if your goal was finish the project, and your next step was to block out time to work on it, then you worked on it in the time block, then your goal is nearer completion and all you might have to do is keep blocking out time blocks to work on it rather than keep thinking that you’ll squeeze it into the gaps in your day which then never materialise. So, always identify your next step, the one step you can take to take you closer to your goal and then do it!

The 4th question is If I fail to achieve my goals, what will be the consequences? Focusing on the negative consequences of not achieving your goal is a way to make you more conscious of its importance. If not working on the project means it never happens then perhaps you lose the opportunity to gain kudos at work, or someone else gets that kudos that you were hoping for, that may motivate you to do something about it. If not running a mile means that in 6 months time when you do that 5k you promised to do you will be really struggling and potentially embarrassed about how unfit you are, then that may motivate you too. Thinking about the negative outcomes or feeling associated with not doing something is a great way to motivate yourself. It’s why the beach body diet becomes a thing in Spring each year. People are motivated by the fact they have to be almost naked in front of other people so they decide to do something about how their body looks. We also have a tendency to just let ourselves off the hook with rubbish excuses. The old classic if I haven’t had time comes into play here. If something is important to you you need to make time. Time will not magically appear and if you hope to reach your goal by slotting the steps into the gaps in your diary you are on course for failing to reach your goal. Make you goal important and book in time for it.

Okay moving on to the next question: What is the one goal that if I achieve it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary? Most of us have a thing that would make things easier. For example, if I could train Bob to be able to do payroll, it wouldn’t take up a whole day of mine every month. If we could develop a system for handling this issue then everyone would be doing it the same way and that would be improve flow. If I lost half a stone, running this mile would be a lot easier. So, pause the video, have a think and ask yourself: What is the one goal that if I achieve it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

The 6th question is if I successfully achieved my goals, what will my life be like? So this is the opposite of the earlier question that focused on the negative aspects of not achieving your goal. If I successfully achieved my goals, what will my life be like? This gets you to focus on life with those goals already achieved. Tasks delegated, processes written, projects completed, weight lost, fitness goals achieved. Undoubtedly life will be better when you have achieved those goals. The trouble is people often struggle to associate their current actions with their future selves. So that doughnut doesn’t really connect with our future fat belly or our lack of booking time out with the failure of the project. We have to mentally and actively link our day to day actions with our future life by visualising in this way. So, pause the video, have a think and ask yourself: if I successfully achieved my goals, what will my life be like?

The 7th question is why aren’t you motivated at the moment. What current factor is making you feel less motivated? Usually we can identify something that is blocking us. If you’re struggling, ask those closest to you what they think the blockage is. Sometimes other people can see so much more clearly than us. Write down right now what it is that is affecting your motivation. It might be that you’re spending too much time watching boxsets on the sofa, or that you are taking on too much of others’ work, that you’re staying up too late so you’re tired, or that you haven’t had a holiday in too long. It might be that you don’t like the particular aspect of work that you are doing, or that you have an issue with a person on your team. Once you identify why you aren’t motivated at the moment you’re a step closer to being motivated as you can then deal with the issue in whatever way is most appropriate. Have a think now about why you are demotivated.

Let’s go through those reasons I just said and it’ll give you an idea how to deal with your issue. If yours is one that’s completely different from these then drop us a line and we can chat through how best you can deal with it.

Spending too much time sitting around depletes your energy rather than restoring it. It’s great to have a rest and just switch off by watching some great TV but if you’re now on episode 3 or 4 of your binge you might want to consider getting up and doing something productive. It’s like too much sleep, it’s a habit that you can slip into and that can be hard to get out of. Make sure you limit your TV watching time and that you get up and achieve something, even if it’s only clearing up before you go to bed so you come down to a tidy house.

If you’re taking on too much of others’ work then you need to stop. We think we’re being kind by helping others but we’re not really. And we’re certainly not being kind to ourselves. Coach others to do their job, by all means, help them but don’t accept a responsibility unless it’s a win-win. Learn to say ‘no’ politely and make sure you practise saying it.

Staying up too late so you’re tired is generally a bad idea. Not many people achieve much between the hours of 10pm and midnight. Most people would achieve more between 6am and 8am than they would between 10pm and midnight. Think about the value of your time. Use it wisely, protect it and care for it. Think to yourself, “Is it a better use of my time to watch another 2 episodes or get to bed so I can start work earlier in the morning, or go out for a run, or do some yoga, or prepare healthy lunches for the week’. If you treat your time like a precious commodity you won’t waste it on less valuable things. Being tired feels rubbish, and affects your concentration, your mood and makes you more likely to make mistakes and snap at people. Getting an 8 hour sleep opportunity - but not much more - is the most effective way to use your time. It’s also required for all the processes your brain needs to undergo during the night. Be good to yourself and get to bed 8 hours before you need to get up, or 8 hours before you want to get up.

On the same note, if you haven’t had a holiday in too long then you’re probably running on empty. It’s important to have proper time off, away from the office, the emails, the demands that work places on your brain, and that others place on you. You will be much more effective if you book in regular time off than if you’re continually slogging away.

If you don’t like the particular aspect of work that you are doing then it’s very hard to stay motivated. Break it down into doable chunks, I use a technique called the pomodoro technique where you work for 45/50 minutes and then have a break doing something else for 15/10 minutes. Everyone can cope with 45 minutes concentrating on something they don’t enjoy and it means you just chip away at it a chunk at a time.

If you have an issue with a person on your team that’s affecting your motivation then you need to deal with it sooner rather than later. Most issues are to do with a lack of understanding between people or a lack of effort. Take control by getting to know the person better. If you understand them more you are more likely to be able to work better with them. Use our communication ladder to get to know them more deeply on a personal level, talk to them about their work. Ask them questions they will enjoy answering. Fostering and working at difficult relationships is part of your responsibility when you’re on a team. Don’t shirk that responsibility or claim it’s the other person’s fault. That’s what most people do. Take control of it and make it better. When I’m having difficulty with someone the first thing I do is reach out and try and get a coffee with them so we can just chat about none work things. Usually that’s enough to right a relationship that’s straying but it might take more work from your side. Don’t let it slide. Make it your goal to get that relationship to a great working level.

The 8th question is What can I do to eliminate/manage demotivating factors? Well we have just gone through how you can eliminate some of those factors. But whatever factors you have, addressing them is really important. So be honest with yourself about what it is that is affecting your motivation and systematically address it. Think, what can I do in order to make this not an issue? Write down any factors that you think are affecting your motivation negatively and how you could address them right now. Pause the video, have a think.

The penultimate question is What is the biggest obstacle or roadblock that is stopping me from reaching my goal? It sounds like the last question but this is about bigger things. If you can’t achieve what you want to achieve because you don’t have the authority just yet, what can you chip away at that’s within your remit? Who can you talk to to try and find a way round it? Not surreptitiously, too many people feel they can’t talk openly. If you want something it often pays to be open about it. “I’d really like to have more responsibility in the next couple of years. What can I do to achieve that?’ Is a great question to ask your boss. “Or the other way round, I’d really like you to be taking over a lot of my responsibility in the next few years, how can we achieve that?’ If you have a roadblock, address it bit by bit and break it down. There’s the story of a man in China who had to take his wife for regular hospital appointments. Because of a mountain they had to tale a long round trip every time. Over 30 years he chipped away at the mountain and made a tunnel through it.

There are stories of people who have planted forests by just planting a few trees a week. We think things are insurmountable, that we can’t make a difference, that it’s not worth trying, but it is. You can make far bigger things happen than you ever thought possible just by chipping away at it. But not until you know what you want?

So the last question is Who do you want to be in the next 5 years? Think deeply about this, it’s not just about financial achievements but about who you really are. If you want to be mortgage free, great, think about things you can do to increase your income, or cut down on costs. If you want to be the boss, great, think about what you can do to learn and practise what you need to be able to do and to showcase your abilities. But also spend time thinking about who you want to be in terms of personal attributes. Do you want people to describe you as kind - then do kind things consistently and regularly. Do you want people to describe you as a good listener. Then make sure you sit and properly listen when people are talking. Not just when you have the tjme, but also when you don’t really have the time. Decide who you want to be and then take steps to make it happen.

At the end of this video I want you to have a conversation about who you want to be with 2 people. One at work and one at home. I want you to get their opinion of where you are now and what you would need to do to be that person. I also want you to ask for their help. That help might be in the form of cheering you on, or kicking you up the bum when you need one, or by advising you or just by being there for you. But ask for their help and commit to them. People like helping people achieve their dreams. But they don’t like spending time with people who talk a lot but don’t walk the walk. By committing to them you are making a commitment to yourself also.

So the 10 questions that you should have worked through now while we were doing this are:

Anyone who wants to be motivated has to take the time the work on themselves. That means seriously taking the time to consider these questions regularly. Don’t just pay it lip service, that doesn’t work. Pay it proper attention and commit to yourself and those around you. If the idea of this ears you out rather than excites you, go back to question 7 about why you are not motivated at the moment and spend some real time thinking about that. Ask those around you what their thoughts are too. Put some effort in to finding out what it is that’s demotivating and then address it chunk by chunk. You can do it, if you choose. A favourite phrase of mine is ‘help is not coming’. No one can do it for you. You must take responsibility or your life will be at the whim of others who have made choices and have taken action. Do what you need to do to make your life happen the way you want it to. Be the person you want be. Imagine what that would feel like!

How to Motivate Your Team

The title of this whole masterclass is Motivating Others and as we learned in the earlier videos we must having an understanding of our own motivation before we can begin to develop others’ motivation. In this lesson we are going to think about the impact we have on other people by putting ourselves in their shoes; we’ll look at how to ruin motivation fast and how to increase it when times are good; and we’ll finish with 5 easy question to raise motivation in anyone. By the end of this lesson you will have an understanding of how easy it is to demotivate anyone - something not many people are as mindful about as they should be, you will feel much more influential in terms of your team’s motivation and you will be able to increase your team’s motivation with some simple questions.

In order to understand others’ motivation we need to think about factors that are important in job choice. Most people assume that work is all about the money but that’s a simplistic approach. Work choice is about the money of course but it’s not all about the money. Many other factors come into play for most people. Factors such as:

So lots more things than money. Money is only one factor to be considered as people weigh off the benefits of one job over another, or how happy they are in their current role. People who feel as though they are all of the above rarely look for another job.

But we don’t generally ask our team what motivates them, we just assume it’s money. I want you to have a think about this before we go and ask them. What do you think motivates your team / direct report to perform? Pause the video and have a think now.

Being demotivated can, and will, happen to us all and sometimes it can come as a surprise when someone appears or is less motivated. Now that you have had a think about what motivates your team you can identify three factors for both personal and business that affect an employees motivation. You can carry out this exercise thinking generally or with a specific team member in mind. Pause the video and have a think now. Three factors for both personal and business that affect an employees motivation.

Most leaders just don’t spend any time really thinking about their team’s motivation beyond extrinsic rewards. Being a great motivator is about understanding what’s important to your team and then acting on it. So I want you to turn to your workbook, or if you’re writing notes on your own write down these following things vertically in your notebook:

Now rank these factors for yourself. Numbering them 1 - 10. Number 1 is the factor that most motivates you, number 10 the factor that least motivates you. Once you have done that then do it from what you think is your team’s perspective. Pause the video and have a think now.

Now that you have carried out this exercise in your head, I’d like you to do it in person. Choose 3 members of your team and ask them to rank the factors as you have done. Now you can discuss with them the similarities or differences in what you thought they would say and what they did say.

Do you know what you have just done with that team member? Raised their motivation. People like it when their manager or leader is interested in them. Asking them to talk to you about things that concern them is a great way of motivating them.

Let’s have a bit of fun now. Imagine you are a manager with a staff of 20. Productivity and morale are at an all time high. Your objective is to interfere with productivity and morale by ruining employees’ motivation within one week.

What you could say and do to frustrate people, lower morale and productivity, get poor performance, and encourage self-defeating behaviour? Pause the video and have a think now.

It’s amazing how we all know how to do it, isn’t it? What did you come up with? Most people will say things like:

The sad thing is, is that some workplaces are actually like this parody of a bad motivational boss. It might not be as obvious as what we have just come up with but often there is an insidious culture that excludes, criticises and makes people feel insecure.

So now imagine you are a manager with a staff of 20. Productivity and morale are at an all time high. Your objective is to keep this productivity and morale high by enhancing employees motivation. Describe what you could say and do to encourage people, keep morale and productivity up, keep the performance level high, and engender good work spirit. What would we do in this scenario? The opposite of what we did in the last right.

So, we don’t criticise everything, we provide them with appropriate benefits, wages, time off. We offer them job prospects, chance of promotion and development. We don’t affect their job security by sacking a few, we try work arounds and if we do need to lose some people we communicate why and do it carefully and considerately, acknowledging the effect on the whole team. We praise them and include them in collaborative decision making, which makes them feel important and valued. In short, we care about them.

So, that’s the behaviour that people find motivational. But here are 5 specific Questions that will help you to learn how to Motivate Anyone:

  1. How do you want to be rewarded?
  2. How do you work best?
  3. What don’t you like about my management/leadership style?
  4. What do you like about my management/leadership style?
  5. What can I do to make your job easier?

Often to get a deeper understanding you simply have to ask the person, as long as they know that you have their best interest at heart and they trust you then they should give you all the answers you need. All you have to do is do what they ask, or do what you say you’re going to do.

So now what I want you to do is list three people you are going to ask these questions to and why. And then , after this video ends I want you to do just that, go and ask them. And don’t just think this is about your direct reports, no, this has just as much to do with people in your team as well. We often under estimate the level of influence we have on other people including those who we report into.

To finish this lesson what I want you to do is have a think about how you would respond to these questions if asked by your manager. co-director or mentor/coach. Being aware of what you would say, should help you when you ask them the questions, and help you make decisions about your own career path too.

Remember, when you’re a leader it’s your responsibility to motivate your team, not demotivate them. In order to do that you have to be motivated yourself. Knowing how to motivate yourself and others is a key leadership skill which, when mastered, will allow you all to reach your full potential.

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