Most employees will motivate themselves—if you let them. All you need to do is treat them fairly, unclog lines of communication and keep your promises.
Try these simple steps:
Turn spectators into participants. You’ll know your team is motivated if the members feel engaged. When they can make their voices heard and exert influence, they’ll come to love their jobs. Ignore their ideas and you’ll drain their energy. If their suggestions are disregarded or their questions go unanswered, they’ll retreat. They won’t take risks, much less give 100%.
Don’t hide bad news. If you’re going to withdraw a costly perk or skip bonuses this year, meet one-on-one with your troops and explain why. Don’t delegate this to a low-level aide or send an email.
Rein in base impulses. Want to demotivate people instantly? Blow up at them for innocent mistakes. Make rash personnel moves that disrupt their sense of security. Use crude language to describe an employee. By controlling your impulsiveness, you’ll be a more stable, likable, fair-minded manager.
Follow through. When you tell employees you’re going to do something on their behalf, do it. Then let them know the result. Broken promises leave behind a trail of resentment.
Example: If someone asks your permission for time off, respond promptly. If you need to juggle co-workers’ schedules first, say so. You may want to ask that employee to help you figure out a staffing solution. Don’t just say, “I’ll think about it” and walk off—and then wait for the individual to nag you a week later.