What motivates one person may not motivate another. This can make a manager's already stressful job seem even more overwhelming. How can a leader possibly identify and keep track of the different motivations of each individual team member? Well, if you assess your return on investment of time to pinpoint individual motivations, you may be able to successfully reduce turnover and increase retention, boosting productivity, increasing quantifiable results, and improving quality.
Honing in on what generates passion and excitement in individual contributors can ignite a synergy on your team and truly make people feel good about their personal performance.
Another factor great leaders should consider when finding those individual motivations is generational influence. There are five different generations active in today's workforce. According to SHRM, understanding the different generations can help leaders communicate and motivate employees more effectively.
So, let's review three action steps you can take as a leader to help motivate your team members and communicate with them even better:
- One-on-one dialogue. Time is limited, especially for leaders. There are only so many minutes in the day, but again, if you look at quality, investigative time with your direct reports, you may discover misperceptions and individual motivations. Ask individual team members what's important to them. What are their career goals and how can you help he or she achieve them? The one-on-one dialogue can be a short, 30-minute meeting, yet beneficial for both of you.
- Focus on strengths, not weaknesses. Make sure your team members are in the right seat on the bus. People tend to be more productive and perform optimally when they feel successful. If someone is in a job that just isn't their cup of tea, perhaps you need to rework assignments. While it's not always possible to shift responsibilities, rearranging task allocations can make the difference in a person's motivation to perform.
- Team-building. Training is often difficult, yet necessary, to work into schedules. Keeping skills sharp and relationship-strengthening is critical in today's workforce. Oftentimes, employees get so bogged down in tasks and projects that they don't have real, quality time to build rapport with others, especially supervisors. You won't regret scheduling a fun team-building event, ideally off-site where people can relax, let down walls, and focus on collaboration.
Motivating employees is an ongoing, creative science, but most of all, it's simply about learning what each person values and is within your reach to help make a reality. To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Career Advice and Management & Leadership section of our blog.
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