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Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

Posts Tagged ‘motivational techniques

Motivation Is More Than Money

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When the topic of workplace motivation arises, the two primary issues managers focus on are rewards and recognition. This recognition often takes the form of compensation, but can also be manifested as accurate and timely feedback that acknowledges both positive and negative performance.

Many managers have focused their motivational efforts on the financial compensation an employee receives for their efforts. However, many have failed to understand the impact that clearly defined tasks and fast and accurate feedback has on their workforce. Consequently, they fail to ensure that both positive and negative feedback provided to their employees is directly related to their performance.

Aside from financial and budgetary means, it is important for managers to understand that they can increase overall performance through effective motivational techniques that increase employee productivity.

Harvard Business School conducted a number of employee surveys in a variety of industries. The hypothesis was that the employees who were paid the highest salaries and who had the appropriate personality traits, including drive and confidence, would be the best performers.

This hypothesis was soon discovered to be faulty. The actual top performing employees were defined not only by money, but by the following three factors:

Personal Impact

The top performers had the personality to bring about results through their own efforts. Each was able to accomplish their goals through their individual drive.

Fast Feedback

The top performers knew quickly whether or not their efforts worked. The low motivation employees were unsure of their results and unable to gauge their performance.

Accurate Feedback

The top performers received truthful feedback that accurately reflected their personal impact on results. They knew exactly where they stood and received credit when it was due. The low motivation employees were neither recognized for their good work nor penalized for poor performance. The challenge was thus removed from their jobs, as it was of no consequence whether they excelled or failed.

The results of the Harvard Business School study reveal that the nature of the task and feedback ultimately determine the employee’s motivation. The study indicated that these two factors are more important motivators than compensation.

There are several steps a manager can take to apply this information to their workplace:

  • Ensure tasks assigned to employees are clear. The employees should know exactly what is expected of them. These expectations are inherently motivating.
  • Make the connection between the employee’s individual performance and the end result obvious.
  • Teach employees to evaluate their own work. Detail the critical factors of success and provide them with an evaluation form to use. Make it clear that employees are responsible for their own assessment, and that they can perform the evaluation as frequently as they find it necessary.
  • When providing feedback, managers should ask, rather than tell, employees what happened in specific situations, especially if the manager was not an eyewitness. This process is important since customer feedback is often perceived to be inaccurate. Basing feedback on inaccurate information often results in resentment.
  • • Educate employees regarding how to use feedback. If employees fail to understand how feedback relates to their performance, there is no context in which to place it in, and it becomes meaningless.

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $17.95 USD

Related:

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Performance

Execution: Six Action Steps

Performance Plans Create Results and Maximizes Performance

Objectives Allow Managers to Focus on Obtaining Results

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

Performance Management: The Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series

Planning to Maximize Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Maximizing Financial Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Improving Workplace Interaction: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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Leaders Have Three Motivational Tools Available to Them

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A challenge leaders face is how to effectively motivate their people and keep personal performance standards high, work assignments stimulating, and directional efforts on course. Leaders need to have several techniques at their fingertips to maintain momentum while moving positively forward.

Leaders make concentrated efforts to motivate employees by encouraging them to develop and grow in their work. Emotional resistance is eliminated when the right motivational techniques are used consistently.

Three vital motivational tools that work effectively in most situations are reassuring, challenging and empathizing. When leaders apply these motivational tools they have better success in improving employee performance, stimulating workplace creativity and reducing individual anxiety.

In order to offer greater tangible benefits to employees and have them produce effective outcomes leaders can motivate by reassuring, challenging and empathizing. These motivational techniques make individuals feel better about their personal worth, challenge them to participate fully, and align tasks and goals with individual needs and desires. Building techniques around these include:

Motivational Reassuring

This motivational technique is effective for helping employees cope with workplace stress and challenges. The key is to motivate by using specific positive actions and verbal support.

  • Leaders focus on motivating by “cheerleading” employees onward in a supportive role. The main goal is to build commitment through influencing them to participate fully. This reduces worry and stress that they will not be able to perform properly or to the leader’s expectations. This is accomplished in part through suggesting ways to make tasks and assignments easier and offering shortcuts to eliminate frustrations.
  • Leaders find a good motivational technique is to let employees know that a certain amount of stress is beneficial because it helps optimize productivity. With that in mind, they disclose all details of what is going to happen to each person involved in a task, project or outcome as much as is predictable. Encouraging employees in their efforts as they move one small step at a time is essential. Positive statements about small successful accomplishments work well to overcome personal insecurity.
  • Another good motivational technique is to help employees recharge physically and emotionally. This can be accomplished by easing up on their workload occasionally, or by offering “perks” when and where a leader feels it is appropriate. The idea is to move the individual’s energy level away from work so renewed bursts of energy can take place.

Motivational Challenging

Motivational challenging works effectively to reduce complacency. Challenging allows employees to be less focused on their own personal wants and problems and more focused on the priorities of the workplace. Motivational techniques need to be focused on the following:

  • Overcoming an employee’s insecurity level in a positive manner is a challenge for many leaders. This can best be accomplished by creating both positive and negative outcomes directly related to individual performance. Leaders find linking performance targets to bonuses or to other intrinsic rewards works well.
  • Effective leaders know that challenging employees sometimes requires motivating by applying “tough love.” They motivate by not allowing themselves to shelter the people under their direction from reality. One technique to keep employees motivated is to engineer a crisis by allowing employee apathy to lead to a fall, rather than protecting them from negative consequences. Experience can become one of the most powerful motivators.
  • One powerful motivator to challenge employees and get them more involved is through the sharing of information on situations, new procedures and changes that are occurring in the workplace. Leaders understand not sharing important information regarding decisions and changes hinders employees and forces them to function in a negative, reactive state. A leader’s goal is to maintain a proactive workplace climate.

Motivational Empathy

This technique is based upon listening to an employee’s side of an issue, sharing viewpoints, and providing positive interaction. Leaders must first understand how employees feel. Motivational empathy techniques are effective to build commitment. Leaders align goals and objectives with specific needs and concerns.

  • Leaders must win the confidence and trust of the people under them. In order to motivate, leaders need to fully understand their employees. This involves gaining an understanding of their perspectives on problems, fears, beliefs and workplace situations. Leaders can then develop strategies to motivate in a positive way to overcome resistance, which then develops a feeling of trust and security within their followers.
  • Listening is a very effective way to motivate. Not disputing views or perceptions builds higher levels of encouragement. There are times when leading people means walking or working alongside them while saying nothing. Listening allows time to observe and develop strategies to help increase confidence and productivity. To motivate effectively, it is important not to overwhelm employees with a leader’s personal power, control and confidence. Listening does this.
  • Sharing quality time with employees is essential to motivate effectively. This includes personal interaction time in order to discuss and share feelings that are important to the employee. Leaders also find it motivational to share their personal feelings. Taking quality time to exhibit kindness, openness, compassion and genuine concern holds more power to motivate than many other techniques combined.

Related:

Does Compassion and Empathy Have a Role in Leadership?

When Motivating Employees, Expectations Are Everything

16 Ways to Motivate Employees and to Celebrate Their Successes

Excerpt: Leadership Roles & Responsibilities: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 16.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Taking an Inventory of Your Leadership Skills

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Sound leadership includes continually and objectively taking inventory of oneself. This is not as easy as it appears, because leaders inherently have high levels of self-confidence and often believe they are strong in most areas relating to their leadership role. Even though this quality is important for leaders to fulfill their role effectively, it often obscures specific areas needing improvement.

When leaders honestly assess their performance, they will set goals for improvement. By responding to precise questions in six specific categories it becomes easier to determine areas for improvement that might otherwise be overlooked. These areas and questions need to be addressed carefully in order to improve one’s performance in their leadership role.

Related: Four Primary Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

It is important for leaders to honestly evaluate themselves in the areas of:

  • Establishing a core belief system
  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Developing methods for monitoring workplace progress
  • Giving clear and detailed instructions
  • Promoting responsibility
  • Improving the overall workplace environment

In order to pinpoint specific areas of strengths and weaknesses, print out the following evaluation areas and questions and write “yes” or “no” before each number.

Establishing a core belief system

  1. Do you continually prepare your employees for impending changes by effectively discussing and defending why they are necessary?
  2. Do you review procedures and results with your employees on a regular basis?
  3. Do your employees know where your direction is taking them?
  4. Do your employees understand why it is important to achieve set goals?
  5. Do your employees understand and accept established standards for performance and are they complying with workplace rules?

Prioritizing tasks

  1. Are your priorities flexible?
  2. Do you model the importance of organizational skills to your employees?
  3. Do you set daily priorities?
  4. Are your employees a daily top priority in terms of their needs and concerns?
  5. Do you take an active role in helping employees prioritize their tasks and assignments?

Monitoring workplace progress

  1. Do you keep daily records and check off items that move workplace progress forward?
  2. Do you have at least one weekly meeting to discuss performance progress and/or timeline implications?
  3. Do you consult with individuals that need to increase overall performance on a regular basis?
  4. Are you able to determine reasons behind a lack of performance in most of your employees who aren’t meeting expectations?
  5. Do you motivate using various leadership styles that meet specific individual needs?

Giving detailed instructions clearly

  1. Are you allowing adequate time for discussions, asking questions and addressing particular concerns and specific issues that arise?
  2. Do you address all the “why’s, how’s and when’s” of assignments and tasks?
  3. Do all employees understand why particular procedures are necessary?
  4. When plans, goals and objectives are detailed, are they completely understood by all involved?
  5. Do you listen to employees carefully and anticipate potential problems or complications in assignments or tasks and take appropriate action before they actually arise?

Promoting responsibility

  1. Do you give adequate feedback to employees to build development of responsibility?
  2. Do you use motivational techniques to help build the desire to accept responsibility in your employees?
  3. Do you assign tasks and responsibilities equally among all employees?
  4. Do you encourage your employees to take risks without fear of negative consequences?
  5. Do you delegate responsibilities whenever possible to the most qualified individual?

Improving the overall workplace environment

  1. Do you celebrate individual successes, great and small?
  2. Do you put forth daily efforts to make assignments and tasks more enjoyable for everyone involved?
  3. Do you encourage cooperative efforts and input in planning the goals for the direction you wish to take?
  4. Do you work to stimulate creativity and “out of the box” thinking?
  5. Do you make sure to give each employee one-on-one time throughout each week?

Related: Four Concepts Define Key Leadership Responsibilities

Excerpt: Leadership Roles & Responsibilities: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series by Timothy Bednarz (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2012 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Motivation Is More Than Money

with 8 comments

When the topic of workplace motivation arises, the two primary issues managers focus on are rewards and recognition. This recognition often takes the form of compensation, but can also be manifested as accurate and timely feedback that acknowledges both positive and negative performance.

Many managers have focused their motivational efforts on the financial compensation an employee receives for their efforts. However, many have failed to understand the impact that clearly defined tasks and fast and accurate feedback has on their workforce. Consequently, they fail to ensure that both positive and negative feedback provided to their employees is directly related to their performance.

Aside from financial and budgetary means, it is important for managers to understand that they can increase overall performance through effective motivational techniques that increase employee productivity.

Harvard Business School conducted a number of employee surveys in a variety of industries. The hypothesis was that the employees who were paid the highest salaries and who had the appropriate personality traits, including drive and confidence, would be the best performers.

This hypothesis was soon discovered to be faulty. The actual top performing employees were defined not only by money, but by the following three factors:

Personal Impact

The top performers had the personality to bring about results through their own efforts. Each was able to accomplish their goals through their individual drive.

Fast Feedback

The top performers knew quickly whether or not their efforts worked. The low motivation employees were unsure of their results and unable to gauge their performance.

Accurate Feedback

The top performers received truthful feedback that accurately reflected their personal impact on results. They knew exactly where they stood and received credit when it was due. The low motivation employees were neither recognized for their good work nor penalized for poor performance. The challenge was thus removed from their jobs, as it was of no consequence whether they excelled or failed.

The results of the Harvard Business School study reveal that the nature of the task and feedback ultimately determine the employee’s motivation. The study indicated that these two factors are more important motivators than compensation.

There are several steps a manager can take to apply this information to their workplace:

  • Ensure tasks assigned to employees are clear. The employees should know exactly what is expected of them. These expectations are inherently motivating.
  • Make the connection between the employee’s individual performance and the end result obvious.
  • Teach employees to evaluate their own work. Detail the critical factors of success and provide them with an evaluation form to use. Make it clear that employees are responsible for their own assessment, and that they can perform the evaluation as frequently as they find it necessary.
  • When providing feedback, managers should ask, rather than tell, employees what happened in specific situations, especially if the manager was not an eyewitness. This process is important since customer feedback is often perceived to be inaccurate. Basing feedback on inaccurate information often results in resentment.
  • • Educate employees regarding how to use feedback. If employees fail to understand how feedback relates to their performance, there is no context in which to place it in, and it becomes meaningless.

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, 2011) $17.95 USD

If you would like to learn more about effective employee motivational techniques, refer to Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series. This training skill-pack features eight key interrelated concepts, each with their own discussion points and training activity. It is ideal as an informal training tool for coaching or personal development. It can also be used as a handbook and guide for group training discussions. Click here to learn more.
________________________________________________________________________
Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It
and What You Can Learn From It
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Catalog| 800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2011 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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