Motivation … and managing your team!

Motivating AssociatesMotivation is a psychological feature that arouses an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal-directed behaviors. It can be considered a driving force; a psychological one that compels or reinforces an action toward a desired goal. We call the reasons to act “motives” to explain why people act in certain ways.

Today’s increasingly competitive business world needs a highly motivated workforce for any organization seeking to achieve and sustain good results. It is only through the efforts of the workforce that a company’s objectives can be achieved. That’s why a team leader must be aware of what these motivational forces are.

What does a team leader need to know?
Research in human behavior has suggested that people are motivated by a number of different needs, at work and in their personal life. Recognizing and satisfying these needs will help a team leader get the best from people. A team leader or supervisor must make an attempt to know something about each of their team members. For example:

• Money is one big motivating force. It may ultimately result in a better performance.
• Job satisfaction is another one. People get motivated when they feel that their skills and efforts are being recognized and appreciated by the management.
• Some are at their best when they are given field jobs, others, desk jobs. Both categories of associates work best in their preferred work situation.

What are motivators?
“Motivators” are what a team leader should aim to provide in order to maintain a satisfied work team. How much a person enjoys achievement depends on its recognition. The ability to achieve, in turn, depends on having an enjoyable job and responsibility. The greater that responsibility, the more that individual will feel the satisfaction of advancement. Motivators are built around obtaining growth and self-actualization from tasks. Team leaders can increase motivation in their staff by increasing their responsibility, thereby enriching their jobs.

How can a team leader motivate?
Generally, one person can’t motivate another, but they can create an environment where people can motivate themselves.

Create a positive environment: An essential foundation for motivation is a positive environment created by the team leader. Associates have the right to expect fair treatment and understanding. They also expect professional competence, part of which includes delegating tasks in order to increase staff members’ self-management and participation. A team leader should establish a system that is constructive – not obstructive – in which people can perform at their best.
Establish a two-way communication system: There must be a two-way communication within an organization. All associates must be regularly informed about matters which affect them. The ideal approach when providing information is that everybody should know about everything that concerns them directly or indirectly, in full and accurate detail, as soon as possible.
Ensure a sense of job security: A team leader must ensure that subordinates have a sense of job security. Be very careful in this area, because our economy can dramatically change overnight. Threats of dismissal or any other punitive action may induce better benefits in the short-term, but they are not recommended in modern management as they are likely to result in a dissatisfied workforce. Associates want to be looked upon as human beings and not as mere tools of performance. They expect a fair and unbiased approach from their team leader who must, therefore, demonstrate the right leadership qualities.
Demonstrate a positive attitude: Team leaders must understand the fact that free or easy-to-supply incentives are a simple way to motivate subordinates and get their cooperation. For example, they may start by thanking people for a job well done, and follow this up with a written acknowledgment. They must be friendly and polite at all times – bad manners de-motivate and deal sympathetically with personal requests, such as time off for special purposes. Such actions on the part of a team leader will ensure that the team members will feel loyal to their team leader and ready to work well and willingly.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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