Can you really motivate others? In a word: NO!
I know that sounds weird coming from someone who makes a living in the business of motivation and engagement in the workplace; but I'm not going to waste your time with lies, platitudes, useless slogans and metaphysical crap. The fact is there is no secret when it comes to motivating others. You can provide external motivation, inspiration and incentive but ultimately all effective motivation is internal. If you want to motivate others you need to employ some simple protocols that are too often ignored by organization leaders:
- Find out what personally motivates each individual on your team.
- Empower people with the resources and opportunities that support each person's vision of success & happiness.
- Make sure everyone knows how important his or her role is in the success of the organization.
- Hold each person accountable for his or her role in personal and organizational success.
One more thing: Get rid of anyone who will not accept personal responsibility for his or her own success and happiness!
I define power as your ability or capacity to act or perform effectively. Give everyone in your organization the opportunity to perform effectively and the organization becomes more powerful. Simple, not easy!
Too often power is confused with control. Power is not control; control is an imposition of will. Power is effectiveness and a person is most effective when he knows his work is generating personal success and happiness.
But...some managers say it's impossible to know the individual needs of everyone in an organization. Divide and conquer! External motivation is a process of effective coaching and mentoring and that's best done on a small scale. You can manage the scale in two way.
- Delegate closer contact to smaller groups. Hold each management level accountable for knowing what motivates his or her immediate team.
- Make some time for nearly everyone you want to motivate. A little meaningful contact makes a large impression.
I'm not advocating an uncontrollable system of appeasement where everyone gets everything he thinks he's entitled to. Control should not be confused with power, but control is necessary to some degree at every level of an organization. Every individual is, however, entitled to at least one thing and that one thing is opportunity. A motivated person who doesn't see opportunity in your organization is going someplace else; you don't want to lose self-motivated people!
An effective organization understands the motivational drives of its people and strives to provide the opportunity for the individual to satisfy his or her drive for success. That drive converts directly to productivity and profit.
- Understand what motivates individuals in your organization.
- Establish effective coaching and mentoring that supports individual success.
- Provide opportunity for individual development and success.
- Hold individuals accountable for supporting organizational success.
You may not be able to motivate others, at least not on an internal level. You can provide external motivation based on the needs of the individuals on your team. Make sure external motivation is in synergy with those needs and the mission of the organization. Be a motivational example for others and you've got real power!
Jim Bouchard is America's Black Belt Powervator; speaker, coach & author of Dynamic Components of Personal POWER!
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