When employees are asked this question, you might think the response would be, “It’s my job to keep myself motivated.” But, in reality, the most frequent answer is, “It’s my boss’s job.”
Surprised? Don’t be. In an ideal world, motivation would come exclusively from within. More often than not, however, it’s up to management to maintain employee morale. It takes dynamic leadership to activate, and preferably inspire, self-motivation in those you lead to ensure future success. Regardless of the size of your company, it isn’t just strategic marketing and sound decision making that’s vital to your success. It is constant development of your “human capital” that holds the key to sustainable, longterm growth.
Those you lead are responsible for the reputation your company has in the marketplace. They hold the key to the solutions to your problems, methods to improve quality, new types of services to provide and the ideas about what the company needs to do to move forward. Assuming, of course, that you know how to generate ideas from them in these areas.
Can you give someone motivation? Many believe that only an individual can motivate himself or herself. But as an executive, manager or supervisor, you can obviously nourish and sustain that self-motivation. The key is to keep them in the right frame of mind by making them feel that they are working with you, not for you. If they feel they are only working for you, their paycheck. They will never put their hearts and souls into their work, nor will they show initiative beyond their immediate responsibilities.
To make a difference in your company, you must be a great person to work with. By consistently doing the things that build relationships—such as taking the time from your demanding schedule for expressing appreciation, requesting suggestions and then listening carefully to them, and encouraging new and better ideas—you will show them you care.
Fundamentally, you gain control by not trying to exercise control. This behavior in a manager helps to encourage employees to be cooperative and productive of their own free will. In fact, the secret is to act more like a leader and less like a boss. In other words, someone you would be excited about working with.
Warren Bennis once said that a boss is someone who commands others to do what needs to be done, but a leader is someone who inspires to help do what needs to be done and to do it well.
Keep in mind that people work FOR a boss. They work WITH a leader.
Employee motivation, of course, involves a great deal more than being a single great leader, it involves your culture, systems, reward and recognition practices, procedures, the dedication of your employees and more. For now, simply ask yourself this question: Would you work for YOU? tpw