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The easy way to motivate

The big secret? Avoid mistakes

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Some managers invest thousands of dollars on motivational seminars to make employees care more about their jobs. What a waste.

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. You don’t have to give flag-waving speeches and dangle constant rewards.

Many managers who struggle to motivate their employees act as their own worst enemy. Despite repeated attempts to raise morale, they demotivate their staff. Examples: losing their temper, forgetting to give timely performance reviews, criticizing often but praising rarely.

Boost your motivational skills with 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 percent.

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 e-mail.

Prepare to accept responsibility, respond to complaints and plant hope for the future. Give employees a chance to vent without trying to defend your position.

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, fairminded manager. This alone will help you convince workers to give a bit extra.

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.

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