Master motivators develop a keen understanding of people. To assess your motivational skills, grade yourself in the following three areas:
1. You show respect all the time, even when displeased. Give yourself an A if you treat everyone with respect. That means maintaining your composure when you’re tempted to lash out—and dignifying workers’ opinions and concerns by listening with an open mind.
Lower your grade if you catch yourself rushing to assign blame, issuing a barrage of orders without heeding workers’ reactions or jumping to conclusions based on an employee’s reputation.
2. You place employees’ work within a larger context. You earn an A if you tell your team why a task or assignment matters in the larger scheme of things. By combining teaching with, you enable people to see the connection between their effort and the bottom-line impact of their performance.
You lose points if you make demands in an abrupt or petulant tone without explaining the significance of the work. Don’t assume employees realize how their actions affect the organization as a whole. You need to train them to think like business owners—and offer meaningful rewards when they achieve superior results.
3. You lead with optimism and enthusiasm. The A players dish out praise generously and find fault sparingly. They express appreciation for a job well done and motivate people to persevere during tough times.
Your grade goes down as your criticisms go up. The more you bash or berate workers, the less they will try in the future. It’s fine to alert employees when they make mistakes, break rules or develop a bad attitude. Just make sure to preface your remarks by saying, “I want to make you aware of something so that you can take steps to correct it, as I’m sure you will.”