Problem: Employee motivation is a mandatory ingredient for success. Yet despite the overwhelming evidence that motivated employees are the cornerstone of a successful organization, in the average workplace, only 29% of employees are actively motivated and engaged in their jobs. That means a whopping 71% are unmotivated and disengaged.
Solution: It starts with your leadership. Maintaining high motivation levels among your staffers is critical. Build a solid foundation and keep your employees motivated by following these strategies:
- Start with clear expectations. The best bosses follow a no-surprises policy. They clearly express goals, processes, responsibilities, rewards and expectations, and they allow employees to ask clarifying questions to increase their understanding. Informed employees are motivated to succeed because they understand what to do and why their efforts matter. More important, their bosses rarely hear excuses like “I didn’t know that was what you wanted.”
- Focus on specific positives. It seems so obvious, and yet so many first-time leaders stumble in this area. Every interaction with employees—even giving corrective feedback—can be motivating if you focus on what employees do right and express why you want them to stick to those high standards.
- Put down the pom-poms. Motivating your employees does not mean you need to be a cheerleader. Go beyond rah-rah praise. Ask questions and really listen to staffers’ answers. Open-ended questions are best—those that staffers cannot answer with a simple “Yes” or “No” stimulate conversation and build relationships. Routine questions like “How’s it going?” usually yield routine answers like “Just fine” or “Good.” Questions such as “What good thing happened to you today?” or “What problems did you solve today?” spur conversation and show staffers that you are interested in them. That is the greatest motivator of all.
When you offer praise: Cite examples of the positive behavior you want to see more of. Example: “I admire that you stay calm under pressure. When that customer was yelling at you, you maintained your cool, calmed him and resolved the problem.”
When you criticize: Refer to positive behaviors you have seen in the past and connect today’s failings to yesterday’s success. Example: “The last time I saw you interact with an irate customer, you remained polite and calm. That is not what happened today. What was different about today’s situation, and what can we do to ensure that you shine in every service interaction?”
This article was pulled from the pages of Bud to Boss™: A New Supervisor’s Guide to Motivation & Recognition, a brand new training resource that provides you with everything you need to turn an unmotivated workforce into a motivated one—and to maintain that motivation well into the future. To learn more about all of our Bud to Boss™ products click here.
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