Motivating Your Employees
by James Chapman
A good business leader is a multi-faceted individual who possesses many strengths and capabilities. He can manage budgets, spearhead marketing campaigns, design products, network with industry experts, and appraise contract management software. He is dedicated, hard-working, smart, and creative. But even with all these exemplary qualities, a business leader is truly only a leader if he also possesses one crucial trait: motivation skills. In fact, no matter your walk of life, if you seek to be a successful leader you need to be able to motivate those people who follow your guidance.
Motivated employees are more productive and cohesive. They also are more likely to be happy with their job and less likely to seek work elsewhere. But how can you motivate your employees and achieve these results? How can you make them as passionate about your business as you are?
Here are a few tips:
Keep Clear Reinforcements
There are two general ways of explicitly motivating people: positive incentives and negative tactics. Using positive motivation creates goals and incentives to which your employees can strive. Negative motivation, on the other hand, involves using threats or fear of reprisal in order to achieve productivity goals. Far too many employers use a combination of the two in their attempt to motivate workers; this approach, however, causes threats and incentives to cancel each other out and yield counterproductive ends. For this reason it is important to have a clear approach. Of course, when choosing between the two, most experts would say that positive motivation almost always works better than the negative variety in the long term.
Many office managers and business leaders believe that it is important to promote workplaces that are “fun” and “relaxed.” These two aims certainly reflect admirable goals, but there is really only one overarching word that should come into consideration here: culture. If having fun office outings, free food, and themed work days translate into a more cohesive office culture – one where employees see themselves as members of a family rather than a team of workers – then fostering a fun office is a good approach to take. If not, you need to consider other ways of promoting employee cohesiveness.
Create Team Incentives
Along similar lines, employee motivation often rises when a collaborate work environment is promoted – when it comes to business projects as well as office functions. While creating individualized incentives may breed stress and competition among employees, group projects and targets can translate into productivity, cohesion, and more motivated employers, even on an individual level. Keep in mind that a desire to build a team culture should carry over into hiring practices. Applicants who are good fits for the culture should be sought out. Employees who detract from it, conversely, should probably be let go.
Hopefully these tips can help you plan an appropriate motivational approach. While a good business leader may be highly motivated, a great one needs to be just as capable of instilling that same spirit in his employees.