As many organizations struggle with motivating employees and volunteers, a common question continues to surface. How do I motivate others? Briefly, I will share four tips from John Maxwell’s perspective.
1. Start with Motivated People. The best way to create a culture of motivation is to start with those who are already motivated. If you are the leader of the team, make sure you are setting a personal example by being self-motivated. People do what people see. Further, as shared in a previous blog, hire those with a sound character and a good attitude. You need many cheerleaders, if you will, throughout the organization.
2. Understand the Connection between Relationships and Motivation. A true and familiar quote is, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It will be difficult to motivate people if you do not have a genuine interest in them as a person. Leaders who are disrespectful to their followers is a major reason for demotivation. Connect with your people. Value them. Then you will have an opportunity to personally motivate them to give more and make a greater impact for the organization.
3. Give Each Person a Reputation to Uphold. While in corporate America, I had a reputation for being able to connect with the executives of the customers we had. This motivated me to uphold that reputation. Your people have positive traits and skills. Discover what they are and share them with others. This helps to validate them as a person and can help motivate them to operate in their strengths zone. This could also foster an environment where others recognize the strengths of many throughout the organization.
4. Reward What You Want Done. Most people will work for a reward they desire. I am amazed by how many entities have a compensation system that does not match the desired outcome they are expecting. Often, what you measure is what gets done. Punishment can help people from doing their worst. However, incentives-if designed properly-can be used to motivate people to do their best.
I shall conclude with an illustration Maxwell has shared. There was a salesman who sat looking through the window of a hotel restaurant. Outside raged a blinding snowstorm. “Do you think the roads will be clear enough in the morning to travel?” he asked his waiter. “That depends,” the waiter replied. “Are you on salary or commission?”
Remember, rewards are motivating. If you want people’s best, give them incentives for performance, give each a reputation to uphold, understand the connection between relationships and motivation, and start with the motivated people.