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Motivating Staff Explained

J Bell

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If a workforce is motivated, success usually follows, which in turn inspires and further motivates the employees to yet further success. Successful companies go into a self-perpetuating motion that brings more and more success and the associated rewards.

Take a few moments now to think about one or two of the successful companies you know of and consider whether what I say is correct.

Hopefully you agree that high motivation is inseparable from success. By taking a conscious control of the level of employee motivation in your company you are assisting your staff to step outside of a comfort zone that may be condemning your company to stagnate through procrastination.

I used to procrastinate a lot. I'm not so sure now!

Motivation is connected to staff development and learning in that it involves an intentional process to bring about the desired outcomes. In other words some action is required.

Ideally, you want your staff to be self-motivated, purposeful in their tasks, with the minimum of direct supervision. If you achieve this you will find that motivation is something that will help you through the inevitable difficult times all companies face on occasions.

Motivation is predominately an extrinsic condition. Your employees are beings that respond primarily to some form of external stimuli usually from a motivator. At a basic level most managers choose the ‘carrot or the stick’ method.

There are numerous rules connected to effective, motivational management. Too many to go into in this short article but, by way of example, managers must ‘praise in public’ and ‘chastise in private’.

Get the level of motivation right and you will find it is the glue that holds the success of your business together. It is a way of thinking that needs to permeate the whole philosophy of the company on a day-to-day basis. Once again think about successful companies, picture their staff in the work environment, and you will know what I mean.

I know it's not easy - motivation is an extremely complex concept. It is a science that has been investigated and studied over the decades in many ways by many people. Perhaps one of the better-known scientists to research this thing called motivation is Abraham Maslow.

Carrying out research in the 1940s, Maslow identified five levels of needs that drive and motivate people's behaviour. They are:

1. Physiological needs (e. g. a sheltered place for work, a comfortable temperature, etc. ),

2. Safety needs (for job and personal security),

3. A sense of belonging (affection and identification in a team),

4. The need for esteem (prestige, success and self-respect)

5. The last, and perhaps one of the most important where company success is involved, is the need for self-actualisation. By this he refers to the instinctual need of employees to make the most of their abilities and to strive to be the best they can. Your people want to be motivated they may simply not know how to go about getting it!

Here's How You Can Help

You will motivate your staff if you help them work toward fulfilling their potential at a level they are capable of becoming.

This is where the difficulty often lies for many managers - if staff are not motivated enough they may fail to reach their true potential.

Pushed too far beyond their capability and they become de-motivated and will often complain to others of bullying taking place at work.

Successful motivation is achieved when people perform well whilst still within their limitations. This is achieved when they are productive and appear to do be doing so with relative ease.

Motivation is something that is an essential part of your people's day-to-day lives. It provides the ‘get up and go’ that helps them get out of bed in the morning and look forward to their day at work. Yes you did read that right!

People can be conditioned to enjoy work and look forward to helping you and your company succeed. If members of your staff have a negative attitude they need to be taught how to acquire a positive one. People often need to be motivated to adopt and then display a positive attitude.

Motivation is an essential part of learning. Without the inspiration to implement improvement little will change. They need to be motivated to give them an unswerving faith that they can succeed above and beyond their own often-mundane expectations.

The taking of some intended action by a motivator initially precipitates motivation in others. Done correctly it will create a visible energy, which in turn drives staff forward. It can also become contagious as other staff members ‘catch’ the appropriate, desired behaviour.

Take that action today. The old mantra, ‘I'll start tomorrow’ doesn't work. Tomorrow never comes as it always refers to sometime in the future.

To motivate is too important to be left for the unforeseeable future. Motivation is the most important factor in the whole concept of effective, business management. It is worthy of substantial investment - general training is not enough.

Whereas the type of personality your staff displays in the work environment may represent the way they behave, their level of motivation is directly related to why they behave in that particular way.

Motivation is a state of mind that is influenced by our working environment and those people we work with. The saying ‘one bad apple will rot the barrel’ is as true in the work environment as it is in any other walk of life. One un-motivated individual in an organisation is like a cancer that needs to be treated or cut out.

Staff who declare ‘This is just the way I am. I can't change’ are mistaken. They choose their behaviour and therefore they can be motivated to change such behaviour for the better. Motivation is not a trait but a thought pattern. It is initially formed in the subconscious part of the brain and goes on to effect conscious thought. The subconscious mind can be manipulated.

Correctly motivate such individuals and you will install an internal energy force that determines all aspects of their future behaviour at work and will impact on how they think, feel and interact with other members of staff. This in turn will help motivate those other members of staff.

Motivation is the force that makes us behave in a particular way. Inspiration is what a motivator provides to help an individual complete the necessary changes successfully. The method used to achieve such desired behaviour varies from person to person but is often achieved in a ‘safe’ group situation where an individual can come to terms with the fact that their behaviour is not ideal, thereby allowing non-confrontational change to take place. It can be, and often is, on a subconscious level.

Humour is also a useful tool to bring about changes in a person's behaviour. It makes uncomfortable situations more comfortable. It allows individuals to laugh no matter how grim work becomes. It is such a nice feeling people will pay money to others to make them laugh. That could be useful, having your staff pay you for the privilege of working at you company! Nice feeling isn't it?

Laughter is cathartic; in that it encourages an individual to purge their problems and painful emotions through the joy of laughter.

Motivate your staff by making them laugh.

Motivation is influenced by our personal perceptions of a situation and strengthened by many other factors that create the inspiration to do, or not to do something.

Most working environments have members of staff referred to as the ‘likeable rouge’. They normally achieve this title by being rebellious whilst making others laugh. This can make them difficult to deal with, as they are usually popular with the majority of staff. Such characters can be mind-trained to reduce their ‘rouge’ image whilst retaining the ‘likeable’ benefits they bring through creating laughter and fun in the work place.

You may have noticed that different things also motivate your staff at different times in their lives. This is at the very heart of personal effectiveness. When you are highly motivated about what you are doing, you have great enthusiasm and energy, everything seems to be much easier and you advance by leaps and bounds. Good managers are those who notice slight undesired changes in a member of staff's behaviour and, where appropriate, offer help and understanding to assist them through what may be a particularly difficult time.

Help your staff through a problem and you will provide the motivation that allows an internal process to make them move toward a greater sense of satisfaction. Achieving satisfaction is a goal-directed behaviour.

In business, the most expensive asset you possess is your human resources. If your goal is to achieve rapid and continuous success for your company you need to invest in the motivation of your staff. Decide what it is you wish to achieve and then initiate some action. Do it now as tomorrow never comes!

About the author ~ Motivational, humorous, business meetings speaker, and in-house staff development trainer, John Bell specializes in educating, motivating and inspiring adults.

He has been speaking professionally for over 25 years, holds a Masters Degree in Education, and at one time worked as a Curriculum Development Inspector for the UK Government.

He is also a former stage hypnotist and stand-up comedian and fascinates delegates as he shares amazing secrets on the workings of the human mind.

If you are looking for something that is totally different for your next conference, or you need an in-house trainer to educate, motivate and inspire your people, check out John's websites. You will find that delegate energy levels will rise significantly through a powerful and magical combination of education, laughter and amazement.


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