Thursday, May 23, 2013

MOTIVATION Part 2: Get Reacquainted With Staff

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the challenges and rewards of creating a culture of motivation in your organization. Here is the first of four strategies to accomplish this.

A manager’s first priority is making sure  that each employee is in the job best  suited to her skill set and professional  aspirations. This means taking the time  to get to know his people. This can be a  challenge for those managers who naturally focus more on the job than on the  person doing it. 

When employees feel that managers care more about the work than  about them, they may feel insignificant.  Equally, when an employee feels that  his manager is as concerned about him  as he is about the work, he is far more  likely to display trust that is characteristic of high-performing companies. 

In addition, when managers take the  time to create this sense of trust among  employees, they gain invaluable insight  into what motivates each employee.  What motivates one person may do  nothing for another.  

If a manager really knows his people,  he will know that while Joe may feel  recognized by being assigned as the  manager of a large project, Jane might  feel more achievement from a more  hands-on role in producing the end  result. Having this individual knowledge is critical for a manager to be able  to effectively motivate. Here are some  activities managers can use to get to  know his people and discover what  motivates them:

Encourage people to ask questions  about their current assignments.  
A  person with lots of questions probably  needs more input, while a person with  few questions probably needs less. When  people feel matched to their responsibilities, they are more likely to be more  motivated and perform at their best.

Re-read résumés of employees. 
Become reacquainted with the skills  and weakness of each person in the  team. This will enable managers to better mentor workers in their personal  development while also better using  their skills for the success of the department and the organization.

Take time to listen. 

Ask people: “Where  do you want to be in five years?” Really  listen to their answers. It is surprising  how much people can learn from each  other during a brief exchange. Network with staff. When managers know the strengths of their people,  they can connect individuals to others  who can help them do a better job, and  everyone benefits. People asked to help  others feel valued, and those receiving  help feel supported, both of which are  truly motivating.

Ask for and consider input from direct  reports.
Be sure managers do not  dismiss people purely because they do  not think alike. Appreciation for diverse  opinions is invaluable. This small  awareness can equal big payoffs.

Delegate more.
Draw a matrix with a  list of employees down the left-hand  side and a list of the tasks the team is  responsible across the top. If tasks were delegated to others for one week, which would go to which person? Why? How  well do managers really know each  employee’s capabilities? Have managers delegate at least two of tasks this week.  In addition to motivating and developing others, this will also help managers  evaluate their own ability and willingness to delegate.

Mix it up.
Managers should develop a  cross-functional team so people can  gain a perspective on other parts of the  organization. This contributes to their readiness for change, and the change  capacity of the entire organization. Plus,  when done with support, it can make  the work more interesting, and more  motivating, for everyone.

Links to other posts in this Motivation series

Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
Part 3: Establish clear expectations
Part 4: Provide good feedback
Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at or email us at

This is one of  the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation by Chris Musselwhite originally published in T&D, publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)

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