By Goke Ilesanmi
Motivation is the key ingredient for success in any organisation. You can have all the technical skills in the world, but if you cannot motivate your team, it will be difficult to achieve success. Motivation has long been recognised as being vital to the fulfilment of human potential. It has never been so important, however, as in our current era of drastic social and technological change and the stress that necessarily results.
According to Dr. Walter Doyle Staples, author of “Power to Win” and one of most-celebrated American authorities on human-potential issues, there can be few subjects as fascinating as positive and stimulating motivation if only because it means so many different things to different people. Staples adds that only positive motivation will bring about productive results because it concentrates on desire, whereas negative motivation concentrates on fear.
Teamwork is fast becoming the preferred practice in many organisations as traditional corporate hierarchies give way to flat, multi-skilled methods of working. There is no limit to the potential of a good team. If given a seemingly impossible task, team members will reinforce each other’s confidence as they seek to turn the task into reality. Michael Harrison, an author, publisher and business consultant, says the collective ability to innovate is stronger in a good team than that of individuals because the combined brainpower of a team, however small in number, exceeds that of any one person. By harnessing this power, a team can go beyond simple, useful improvements to achieve real breakthrough.
Beyond the issue of team-work, team development and team-building is the need to motivate the team for performance or success. Ed Sykes, a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service and team-building, stresses the importance of team motivation to team performance and corporate development. At this analytical juncture, we shall take a look at different suggested strategies of motivating a team.
Level of motivation and pleasure
To motivate your team, one of the things you need to do is to find out the level of their motivation. According to Sykes, “Everyone has motivation. Your employees are motivated on some level. It is your job to find the level of their motivation and move your employees to the next level.” You can also motivate your employees towards pleasure or away from pain. You motivate them towards pleasure by providing recognition, incentives and rewards for doing a good job. You motivate them away from the pain of a corrective action, losing a position, or doing a poor job. The key to this motivation is to be consistent with all your employees at all times.
If you show sincere in your employees, they will definitely be motivated. Understand what your employees are passionate about in their lives. Try to know their personal needs, what brings them joy or pain, what their short-term and long-term goals are, etc. Once you can find out these, you can move them to a new level of motivation, because you have shown enough care. Once you understand your employees’ needs and goals, they will take more interest in understanding and achieving your goals.
Benefits and opportunity
Another thing suggested by experts is to listen to What’s in It for Me? (WIIFM). Sykes educates that to truly be a motivator, you must always be in tune with your employees’ WIIFM. Find out why it is beneficial for them to do a task, etc. Once you have found out the employees’ motives, you have discovered how to motivate them. Giving your employees the opportunity to be proud of their work constitutes yet another of the many ways of motivating them.
Napoleon Bonaparte corroborates this by saying, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon.” Reward team members publicly for a job well done. Give them an opportunity in a team meeting to explain how they accomplished a task. Let your organisation give recognition to these employees by personally sending a note, recognising them in an organisational or team meeting, or creating a Hall or Wall of Fame recognition for them that really have gone beyond the call of duty.
Importance and expectation
Also let your employees know why doing a particular task is important to you, the organisation and to them. Employees like to know why tasks are being requested of them so that they can feel involved and that the task is worth it. To motivate your team, you need to expect the best from them. If you expect the best, your employees will rise to that level. You do it with the words you use. According to Sykes, “Are you expressing positive expectations, or are you using words (kind of, sort of, we’ll try, we have to, we haven’t done that before, and that will never work) that communicate negative expectations? What does your body language say about you? Does it say, ‘I’m ready to take on any challenge, and I expect you can also’; or does your body language say ‘Please don’t give me another problem. I can’t handle it’.”
To motivate your team, you must walk the talk. Your employees model your behaviour. If you are confident about a major change in the organisation, your employees will follow your behaviour. If you come in late and leave early, your employees will do the same. Therefore, set the good example for them to follow. If you adopt these simple rules of motivation, your team will definitely become inspired and highly productive, and your organisation will be better for it.
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GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of https://www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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