MOTIVATION THAT WORKS

by Trevor Lee

Motivation is critical to the success of any company. A motivated employee will work harder, and better, than one who is unmotivated. And this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with character. It doesn’t mean an unmotivated employee is intentionally slacking, it’s just that humans work better when they’re motivated. Motivation affects attitude, energy, creativity, and production. This is why good leaders motivate their people, and great leaders motivate people in the specific ways that work for each of them. Let me explain.

It’s very likely that if you’re not being intentional about how you motivate employees you’re motivating them with the things that motivate you.

It’s very likely that if you’re not being intentional about how you motivate employees you’re motivating them with the things that motivate you. Does your heart start pounding when faced with some lively competition? You’ll create competition within your company. Are you energized by a team coming together to solve a tough problem? You’ll focus on encouraging collaboration. Do you thrive when systems and processes are tight and humming? You’ll reward the people who stick to the plan. But not everyone is motivated by the same things you are.

Generally speaking, people are most motivated by one of three things–performance, people, or process. Everyone will have a little bit of all three, but one tends to stand out.

Employees who are motivated by PERFORMANCE want to win.

These are the highly-driven, competitive, ambitious people who respond to aggressive goals and are focused on hitting targets. They see problems, and sometimes people, as challenges to overcome in order to get where they’re going.

To motivate this group you want to create a competitive environment where they can “win.” This doesn’t mean you have to pit employees against each other, though this group would enjoy the chance to outwork their colleagues too. But the “wins” can also be hitting targets in a certain timeframe or outdoing a competitor.

Employees who are motivated by PEOPLE want to help others.

These are relational, feelings-oriented, intuitive people who respond to opportunities to help other people thrive and achieve success through the work they do. They usually prefer collaboration to competition and want to make sure everyone is heard.

To motivate this group you want to point out the ways the work they’re doing is helping others. Tell them stories about the people who are impacted by your organization. Give them feedback about how the things they do have made others in the company more successful.

Employees who are motivated by PROCESS want to establish order.

These are detail-oriented, thoughtful, organized people who respond to opportunities to develop and work within clearly defined structures. They can appear to be slow moving, but usually this is just because they are concerned with gathering as much information as they can in order to get things right.

To motivate this group you need to make sure you are providing as much information and data as possible on why decisions are being made. Give them clear structures and processes to work within and then let them go. When possible, give them the autonomy to make the processes and procedures in your organization better.

One way to get better at motivating people in ways that work best for them is to listen. Identify someone in your company who fits each one of these groups and ask them what really motivates them. Let them give you ideas on the best ways to incentivize them. And then be intentional about getting outside your natural style to motivate people in the ways that are most effective.