Staying motivated day in and day out can be a struggle. Too often businesses think they can simply throw money at the motivation problem which science has proven time again very rarely works in today’s knowledge economy. Thankfully, there’s a lot of science on motivation, particularly intrinsic motivation where people want to do their best. So let’s look at four things that will motivate any employee, even you.
#1. Progress Principle
In her book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, Harvard professor, Teresa Amabile finds that nothing motivates more than progress. Having a pattern of success sparks more success.
So acknowledge, display and celebrate successes. Share customer testimonials, or print them on poster boards and place them throughout your office. Start status meetings with what went well. Find ways to institute gratitude so you and your team continue to see what you’re doing well as you drive to overcome your challenges.
Humans naturally want to be the best version of themselves. Part of your job, then, is to help employees become masters of their chosen field. The Netflix documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an inspiring story of someone mastering one thing rather than juggling 25 things. Who wouldn’t want that level of expertise in their chosen career?
So provide ample opportunities for employees to learn more about their chosen area. Give them the freedom (see Autonomy, below), to try out new theories and to fail without punishment. Allowing employees the time and opportunity to master their passions will motivate them to do better for you.
Unless you’re a micromanager, find ways to empower your employees to solve problems themselves. With today’s knowledge workers, chances are, with a little vision from you, they will devise a better solution than you could hovering over them.
So assign a specific problem or project to a small team to work on, providing you periodic updates. Or proactively ask, “What would you recommend” when presented with options. Both will instill a sense of trust, which most employees will appreciate with die-hard loyalty, and put control into the hands of your employees, both of which are motivation gold.
Multiple studies have proven that when people feel like the work they are doing has a bigger purpose, they are more creative, more resilient to challenges and more focused. All this makes them more intrinsically motivated to do what’s right on their own.
So find ways for your employees to give help to others. A volunteer program, for example, has been shown to improve employee satisfaction, even in unmotivated staff. Get off those sales calls and work side-by-side with your employees on a regular basis to inspire your team. It’s about unlocking what your team already wants to do: be the best.
Tell us your motivation tricks in the comments.