Not so long ago a study was carried out to try and work out what it was that genuinely motivates people at work.
As part of this study a large selection of managers and their staff were asked to put in order of importance a list of key motivators for employees.
First of all the managers were asked to rate the list with regards to what it was that they thought motivated their team – marking them one to ten – and then after that, each member of the manager’s team were asked to look at the same list and rank in order of importance what it was that actually motivated them.
As their top five, the results for the managers came out as: Money; Job Security; Chance of Promotion; Good Working Conditions & Interesting and Challenging Work.
That’s not all that surprising – most managers are quite driven folk who have got where they are through their own successes – it’s not uncommon to hear lines like;
“We pay people – they get the job done. If they do it better – we give them more. It’s good secure work with plenty of opportunity to advance – what else do they want?”
However the team’s results were rather different from the manager’s results.
Their top five ran like this: Appreciation for a Job Well Done; Feeling “IN” On Things; Help With Problems – and then – Job Security and Money.
In an earlier article I explained how de-motivators were a key issue with regards to managers failing to get the best out of their teams. Almost everyone sets off to work to do a good job – hardly anyone ever wakes up and says “today I’m really going to screw this up”.
But the one thing that many managers often fail to understand – is actually the most powerful motivational tool that every great leader has used since time began.
As an explanation of what that is – let me pose a scenario and then ask you a question.
Imagine you’re attending one of my training seminars – there are around 500 people at the event – and after lunch I address the small group of people that you’re standing having coffee with and ask:
“I wonder if any of you can help me – all the toilets have started backing up – it’s a real mess, it’s everywhere – and the people who own the building can’t get anyone in to clean it up before the end of the day – but there’s no way I can carry on like this – it’s a health hazard. How much money would you want to miss the rest of the seminar and clean it all up?”
You take a look round the corner and there’s raw sewage seeping through the doors – the smell is horrific and to top it all – you’re wearing your best suit.
So how much are you thinking? £100? £500?
When I ask this question during management training days, some people go waaay over the £10,000 mark – while others tell me that there isn’t enough money on the planet to get them to do that job.
Let’s change the scenario slightly;
Imagine you’re my very best friend – we’ve known each other since we were kids – and today my only daughter is about to get married.
As a family, we’ve had to organise everything ourselves – the budget is really tight – so we’ve just hired a hall, organised the catering and then decorated the place like something out of a romantic black and white classic, feel-good movie from the forties.
My little girl’s getting herself ready back at the house with all the bridesmaids and her mother – dress, make-up, hair – while you, me and a few others are putting the final touches to everything for the reception – sleeves rolled up, cutting it fine but almost finished.
That’s when someone tells us that all the toilets have started backing up – it’s a real mess, it’s everywhere – and the people who own the building can’t get anyone in to clean up before the end of the day.
So – my very best friend in the world – on my daughters biggest day, how much money do you want to help me clean it all up before it ruins the entire event?
You see, the thing that motivates people into action – to be the best that they can be, to deliver the very best that they can deliver – go beyond what anyone has even asked of them – is an emotional connection to the job at hand, which drives them to a state that can be summed up in three simple words;
They Want To
Because there are times when money – even when huge amounts are being offered – isn’t what’s really required to get the best work out of people.
The same applies for other forms of personal gain or offers of job security – you only ever deliver the very best that you can – when you want to.
MOTIVATION answers the question – WHY – as in “Why is this job worth doing?”
So, before the time comes when you need to ask your team to walk that extra mile for you, smash your sales targets or even follow in behind you with a mop and bucket – make sure you have given them every reason to WANT TO.
Share the background of why a job needs doing, explain why their input is so vitally important to the success of the overall project and afterwards, thank them for a job well done.
On top of that give them the freedom to grow and discover new and better ways of doing things, be ready to coach them if they stumble and do your very best to make sure that the people who are coming to work for you do so because they enjoy it.
Don’t fall into the trap of running a team that just MIGHT DO –
Get out there and lead a group of people who desperately WANT TO!
Interested in finding out more?
If you would like to discuss how we can help to develop your team, email us now on firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call on 0844 293 9777 – or follow this link to find out a little more about our courses and workshops.
If you were looking to book a training workshop for an individual rather than an in-house training course for an entire team you’ll find everything you need over at our Open Workshops Page by following this link.