As an experienced manager, I am often amazed at how organizations of varying sizes overlook what motivates the team as a whole and as individual team members.
If this statement sound familiar, you are not alone. In today’s topic I aim to offer useful insight how knowing the answer can increase the performance of your teams.
If you manage teams of more than one person, it is imperative this is the first question you get answered in even the pre-employment interview. If you miss that chance, not to worry, on day number one ask it. You will be surprised by the team member that you want to know their answer. Often I get bewildered looks and long pauses before an answer is given.
You see the fact they have a job that pays, has benefits and promising career advancements isn’t what truly motivates anyone. I ask it this way,” When you get up in the morning, are you going to do something you love to do? and why is it you love to do what it is you do each day.
Of course you have heard all of the stock answers of money, recognition, chance for advancement and such. And that’s fine…..nothing wrong with that….I have also been surprised at the myriad of other responses I have never heard. And If I was surprised, I bet you will be also. Responses that included if I didn’t do this…the customer wouldn’t have an advocate in their corner. Or The customer would have to buy this somewhere else. A far cry from money or recognition.
Why is uncovering the true motivation of each of your team members important and even mission critical? Simple. If you don’t know or the team member doesn’t know, all the tools in the world aren’t going to matter. Too many times, managers and this includes me, assume the individual is solely self motivated.
What successful teams have in common is this:
The leader knows what motivates each member and provides an environment conducive to those factors. Then, based on the common motivating factors across the team, goals and objectives can be set with a realistic chance of successful achievement.
I’ll give you an example. Before I discovered this lesson, a team I managed placed dead last in my region even though I had the top performer in the country. After much trial an error, I asked that top performer what were the reasons for his success…And what I found was he wanted verification that his efforts were making a difference. For him the ranking was the motivation.
That lesson allowed me to take action by asking that same question of my other team members. The Happy ending was our team became more cohesive, focused, unified and over time climbed up to be the top team of the region and top five in the country.
NOTE: It is my intent to share “lessons” in an effort to help my audience learn and grow. I welcome sincere comments, suggestions and feedback and know that I appreciate your interest.