Why do you need motivation in leadership?
The working world demands more and more from us. Terms such as VUCA-world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) show how our environment is changing. Claims are rising while resources are being reduced. This cannot happen without consequences neither for your employees nor you. The result is often a certain aversion against changes. Interestingly, despite seemingly increasing work pressure, employees spend a large portion of their time unproductive (50%, according to Bennett and Naumann (2004)).
Motivation, intrinsic as well as extrinsic, is discussed again and again. Employee motivation is crucial for the results and thus the success of executives and consequently of the company. Accordingly, many models and theories have been developed and countless books written.
With motivated staff, your workgroup or department will work and grow significantly better, as will the business (Stairs and Galpin, 2010).
In addition to the influence on the behavior, you can influence the experience of employees with motivation as well, such as stress, burnout or boredom (Reijseger et al., 2013). There are also other aspects of the workforce, such as health or sleep quality (Schaufeli et al, 2008, Kubota et al., 2010), which are related to motivation in the workplace.
It is only human not always to be equally motivated.
Stajkovic and Luthans (2001) speak of a percentage of 20-40, as a result of the consistent use of contemporary, psychological motivational principles.
The origin of the word `movere' comes from Latin and means `to move´. I imagine this movement as an energy flow. Ideally, this energy flows in the direction of my goal or within a team in the same direction. If you lose your motivation, this river will dry up. Your task as a superior is now to steer this flow in the direction of the team, or corporate goals, or, if applicable, to set it in motion again. This applies to both your employees and yourself.
The following qualities are the basis of every motivation:
- Appreciation, also in everyday situation
- Make your own participation visible
- Meaning in what you do
- Learn from mistakes
Even if there is often little time for all our daily tasks, you can apply motivation in your conversations, meetings and even emails.
And remember that counter-actions can quickly demotivate.
How to implement this?
- Make sure that you know your own drivers, which motivates you.
- In the regular employee appraisals, plan to spend some time discussing what motivates your employees. At the beginning or end of each meeting, you could choose the highlight of the week or month.
- Discuss how motivation can be positively influenced. There are always little opportunities for progress. Your signaled interest is often almost more important than the solution.
- Speak regularly about the common goals.
- Do not forget to show your employees how your actions contribute to their success. Honest recognition can never be wrong.
If you want to address a concrete problem, related to a lack of motivation, start with a list like the one below. It makes it easier to rank the list of behaviors according to their importance and/or the degree of easiness to be changed.
Compare at least the top 3 to where you are right now with where you would like the associate to be. You can add another table and write how you’re planning to get from A to B. The final objective is always to promote the desired behavior and to reduce unwanted behaviors.
Maybe you’d like to get some help on your reflection? Then feel free to use these questions:
- Which behavior should take place?
- Which shouldn’t?
- With which behaviors from the list is the deviation between desire and reality particularly high?
- In concrete terms, what do we do with the selected behaviors in order to promote or reduce employee behavior?
- Are there any significant issues that we have not yet systematically addressed about motivation?
- Which behaviors do we want to choose and focus on over the next few months?
- What are your own drivers?
- Which qualities are the basis for motivation?
- Pick one behavior of an employee or yourself. Write down the exact steps how you can get from demotivation to motivation!